Forget trips to secluded cabins and overpriced songwriting workshops: Max Salick's got a new guitar and a new band, and that's all the inspiration he needs to rock the house.
The new group, a trio of UW-Madison engineering students called Shapeless Symmetry, recently teamed up with Venice Gas House Trolley's Jaimie Doering to record an EP, Singularity. The disc has just three songs, but it's clear that the band is feeling motivated.
"Yup, we're huge nerds. But we love to rock," confirms Salick. And fans are taking note, he says.
One track on this recording, a rockin' number titled "The Ones We've Left Behind," has been the hands-down fan favorite. The song's a testament to the band's hard work, Salick says, because it didn't start out as something they wanted to share with an audience.
"The low, palm-muted rhythm part sounded completely awful back when I played on an embarrassingly bad Squier Stratocaster," he says. "Upgrading to a Gibson Explorer made a world of difference in adding a driving 'chug' sound to the song."
"The Ones We've Left Behind" eventually became the first song the band played for an audience, and the one fans buzz about the most.
Kicking off with a guitar-driven groove and a driving drumbeat, the song gets you nodding along right away. Meanwhile, the tune's first lyric -- "There are angels in heaven waiting for me to die" -- creates a layer of darkness that, when combined with a dense bass-and-drum combo, sounds slightly metal-esque.
The band's members think of themselves as a prog-rock project, but their sound falls squarely between the early, prog-style recordings of Rush and some of Foo Fighters' best 1990s alt-rock tracks. Muse and Porcupine Tree are sources of inspiration as well, but Shapeless Symmetry strives to create something unique.
In other words, watch for great things from these guys as they hone their sound and get to know one another as bandmates.
Listen to an mp3 of "The Ones We've Left Behind" in the related files at right. More music by Shapeless Symmetry is available on the band's MySpace page.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.