With trashy elegance characteristic of Abner Trio, the first track of the bands split with Man at Arms touches on subjects as diverse as "nationalization, spaghetti, [and] old people." The Indianapolis based trio released their debut Distant Thunder of the Sacred Force on Joyful Noise in January 2006. Since that time the band has developed a more epic and (art)rocking sound, recalling a late 70's early 80's folk-punk sub-genre that never actually existed. These are songs of exultation and despairing regression; loose, harsh, sweet, mathy ballads about being a member of this final and dissolving generation. Paquette's lyrics come through as a sail of breathless longing, maimed faith, garbled redemption, and Zen impressionism reacting to a hyperactive pop-culture landscape.
In terms of noise and tempo the split intensifies on its B-side when Michigan based duo Man at Arms takes over. What might appear on the surface to be solipsistic or psychotic about Man at Arms, we here at Joyful Noise feel to be highly original and radically innovative. Man at Arms has been orchestrating clever, half-crazed, noisy punk-rock critiques of late stage consumer capitalism since their first appearance with their Friction Records 2005 debut Being and Commerce. The split album with Abner Trio showcases the band with a tighter, more developed sound, without sacrificing any of the hysteria of their previous recordings. Their sound has the metallic droney wang and spastic muttering of a primeval brit-punk record, coupled with the more contemporary arrangements of modern math-rock. Co-released by Friction Records. Art by Casey Roberts.