By - Oct 30th, 2008 02:52 pm


Fidelity is a concept by which we measure our pain, to paraphrase John Lennon. For music enthusiasts, there are numerous thresholds: melody, musicianship and production chief among them. In those aspects, Fame By Proxy, Milwaukee band IfIHadAHiFi’s third release proper, is a resounding artistic success.

First of all, it’s damn exciting. Virtually every song is a rhythmic treat, with the drums not only laying down some nifty beats, but (in true post-hardcore fashion) actually serving as a lead instrument. Second, it’s well-executed, as opener “Defenestrate Me” demonstrates in tone and template: repetitive phrases tucked within some beautifully captured guitar and bass, overdriven to the max, with drums up the wazoo.

Finally, it’s well-crafted. “Paradise by the Paulding Light” is the closest they actually get to full-on fucking a pop hook, otherwise flirting with it for the other 11 tracks. One, “Get Killed, Get Noticed,” is so breakneck and loose it feels like it’s about to just fall apart. Another, “Science Depends On Us,” is downright crafty in its self-realization.

With touches of Fugazi (if they’d ever drink and loosen up) and many of Steve Albini’s projects, IfIHadAHiFi show that though they love to dress their music up in glorious noise. Their talents in the three above-mentioned thresholds are just too strong to be denied.

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