My personal experience with These Are Powers has shown me a band of great diligence rife with an earnest self-promotion lacking in most hip Brooklyn bands. Their sound is that of an angry man banging on his girlfriend’s front door, viewed distantly so that there’s an eerie calmness to the entire situation. They purvey a clear sense of musical know-how, with consistently leveled pacing, consciously fighting the “no wave” tag they possibly disdain.
Their choice of sounds for their album indicate a desire to take punk in a completely familiar direction, but with an intention to travel beyond the usual clichés. A great deal of care seems to be focused on minutia, with noticeably tight instrumentation for this area of noise-inflected indie rock music. They fold a crease between music that might appeal to the grumpy outsider looking for a challenge as well as the college student looking for a good time.
The album contains straight noise tracks and song structures that at times involve no discernible focus and that suddenly veer into tight guitar work. Pat Noecker and Anna Barrie, sharing vocal duties, each have their own urgently distinct, cinematic, yet gritty singing voices.
Though I enjoyed this album, I feel like These Are Powers are only on the cusp of tapping a potential energy which may lie in a heavier focus on pop song structure. There are moments on the album when catchy, Tom Waits-influences bubble up and suddenly the songs are memorable; when they stray far into noise and riffs, the album becomes noticeably less cohesive. All and all, a worthy way to spend 20 minutes.