Del Paxton and Gulfer’s split is being labeled as an emo-meets-math-rock hybrid, which is an initially jarring, unwelcoming summation. Both bands have vocalists who bleat defiant, depressive lyrics; they’re impassioned and unafraid to admit it. Of course, it would be nice if a lead singer was allowed to sing with distinctly “emo” cadences without being labeled as such, but that’s jut not realistic in our particular cultural moment. Now, the “math rock” branding is a bit more intriguing. “Math rock” seems to be the revived genre label for anything that sounds intricate, any band with members who sound like, I don’t know, they actually studied music somewhat professionally. Forget the “emo revival,” we’re slow-motion-stumbling into a math rock revival. Bands like Palm, Warehouse, Horse Lords, Caddywhompus, and even Krill are all owning the comparison these days. Del Paxton and Gulfer hail from New York state and Montreal, respectively, but their combined four tracks share unending, spiraling guitar work, inconsistent time signatures, and the biting precision that almost hurts to listen to. If we ignore the bewildering label, this split is just another particular instance of excellent musicianship. Textural instrumental complexities will derail a predisposition to despise both bands’ emotive vocal candor, and lyrical sincerity breaks down any assumed pretension. Listen below.
The Del Paxton/Gulfer split is out now via Topshelf.