Bittersweet, this. Authorization, the local instrumental duo of Jeff Barsky (Plums, Insect Factory) and Dan Caldas (Black Eyes, Horses), broke up last year, but it’s left behind an album, version 1, which as of yesterday can be downloaded for free.
The band gave me a taste of record last July with “Full Flight,” which I described as “a lengthy post-punk tone poem that shoots off synth bursts and guitar sirens and several menacing bass grooves before settling on a clackety, feedback-laden build.” That rubric applies to much of the album, but the variations are pleasing: On opener “Soft Needles,” Caldas produces a snarl of a bass motif that lends the song some movement early on but doesn’t feel compelled to stick around; Authorization does well with repetition, but nothing repeats too long, and no idea is overexploited. The big touchpoint is minimalistic, prominent-bass post-punk (read: early Factory), and so the main mood is menace. And so appropriately, almost everything here is big and dark and danceable—-except for closer “Slow Growth,” which for purposes of our analogy is basically version 1‘s “Decades.” It snakes, it hypnotizes; it feels weary and at points defeated and then strangely and perversely game for another go.