The raucous Pittsburgh trio (and occasional quartet) Storm&Stress pulls its roots from serialism, Cagean principles of chance, and the extreme arithmetic of Don Caballero. This union of theory and riff may seem unbelievable at first listen, but have patience. If you’re looking for traces of melody or even any discernible chord progressions, forget it. In the group’s bio, which reads more like a declaration of war upon the popular-music status quo, guitarist/vocalist Ian Williams admits to an “intentional forgetting” by the band members of the songs they play, a policy maintained not only to further improvisation but also to assure genuine honesty in all their efforts. Where most bands shudder to a halt at the edge of the cliff of structural convention, Storm&Stress hurls itself over it with abandon. Yet the idea of not writing songs is too delightfully refreshing to dismiss as general slackness or a product of postgraduate ennui. In the first track, “We Write Threnodies. We Write With Explosions,” loose percussion and guitar/bass feuding result in a sound that slaps itself together in fits and starts, gradually building to a crescendo, then crumbling to a more relaxed pace, while punctuated by random-syllabic falsetto and spoken vocals. As far as spontaneity is concerned, the boys are capable of tearing riffs apart and reconstructing them like nobody’s business. Under more austere conditions, this deliberate avoidance of the pop/rock rules could be deemed pretentious, but these earnest improvateurs throw in just enough humor to nix the sobriety of their efforts.—Amy Domingues