[engl] Preening is a band that is literally bursting with ideas. Their music is chockablock with tension and pressure -- gaskets blowing; pipes exploding; circuit boards fizzling out. A trio comprised of some of the Bay Area’s most active underground musicians, Preening are poised to cement
themselves as one of their scene’s most crucial exponents of non-trad punk. Within Preening’s tumultuous music, elements careen and collide -- sax bleats; bass lines access spinal nerve-spots; drums poke and pound. When listening to Preening, one gets the idea that they are hyperactive butterfly-catchers; darting around with manic precision, trying to snare each and every winged creature, no matter how erratic its flight path. This speaks to both their innate curiosity and ability to improvise on a dime’s turn.
This year has yielded a mini-deluge of Preening cassettes and EPs. On this release, the trio blast through 5 cuts of controlled chaos, exuding a nonchalant confidence in their mission. “Associated Press” lays it all out on the table -- Alejandra’s declarative vocals and commanding bass licks, Sam’s busy yet precise drum spasms and Max’s saxophone, which honks and squeals like Eric Dolphy was raised at Gilman Street. “PO Box” molds Preening’s art-punk into a danceable shape, but still keeping you off-balance while the song reasserts itself with each pass. “Greasetrap Frisbee” is a brief instrumental that closes out the side with everything-and the- kitchen-sink aplomb. On the flip, “Poison” finds Preening slowing down a smidge and focussing on groove as Max wails through both of his wind instruments (voice + sax). Ending with their “Face On,” Preening prove to be among the most exciting of a fresh crop of punks not
content to regurgitate the same old formula. There’s no time like the present to participate. Take a look in the mirror and say Hello to the new you. -e/n