Information on Noumenon is very hard to come by. Their MySpace page contains a player of a few of their tracks and their friends; there is no Facebook or unreliable Wikipedia page; their band profile page on Big Scary Monsters (their label, apparently) simply, and frustratingly reads “coming soon”. In fact it seems the only place saying anything more than the band’s name and their discography is a news article on this very site which only informs me that they are a “Chicago math-rock trio”. Goddamnit. What is
readily available however is their EP ‘Party Mathematics’ – from their bandcamp page. ‘Party Mathematics’ is the band’s first release and its title simply could not be more apt. Information concerning the band may be seemingly non-existent but this EP’s title tells you pretty much all you need to know. While this is
a math-rock/indie affair, pretentious guitar noodling is kept to a minimum and more than anything, this EP is FUN!
From the joyous explosion at the start of ‘Baby, Baby Teeth’
to the close of the ridiculously-titled ‘Algoresrhythm’
, Party Mathematics is a relentlessly vibrant, fun EP. Dizzying guitar riffs dance their merry way through the EP’s quarter-of-an-hour duration, seemingly without regard for conventional song structures. Noumenon also seemingly disregard convention in terms of track composition, as riffs unpredictably alternate between being ‘fuzzy’ and ‘spiky’, while finger-tapping is used primarily as fills at the end of bars only. This all gives the EP a happily reckless sense of abandon not usually found in math-rock, and as such, the band’s carefree attitude is refreshing. However, their loose song structures and the EP’s general disorientating nature combine to minimise the number of discernible highlights on ‘Party Mathematics’.
Production values are endearingly lo-fi and fuzzy, and this gives the album a distinctly warm feel. However, this does occasionally mean that the clarity of any intricate melodies are occasionally diminished. Fortunately, this diminution is not too detrimental to the album’s quality. Such intricate melodies are perhaps best used at the end of the track named after former presidential candidate/Futurama character, Al Gore, as it races to its exciting conclusion. Elsewhere ‘How Cella Got His Groove Back’
is so joyously pompous that it is practically celebratory with its unrestrained drumming and epic-sounding guitar stabs; while the longest track on the EP, ‘amBROsius’
offers the most varied dynamics , although this variation is still fairly one-dimensional.
Overall, ‘Party Mathematics’ is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and one that should establish Noumenon as a fairly unique, very exciting band. FUN is the name of the game with ‘Party Mathematics’ and in that sense it is a storming success. However, you could accuse them of having too much
fun – if that is actually possible. This is because the band’s reckless song writing, specifically their lack of variable dynamics and textures, results in few distinctly memorable individual highlights on the EP. Similarly, at times the lo-fi production levels dull potentially sharp, intricate melodies – although at the same time it does give the album a certain ragged charm. In spite of its faults, the EP is exciting and enjoyable throughout, and thus lives up to the ‘Party’ promised in its name.