In the Year of the Pig's Jamón | Record Review | Indy Week

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In the Year of the Pig's Jamón

(Holidays For Quince)

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In the Year of the Pig is a heavy band with five members—two of them drummers, two of them bassists. Jamón is a fittingly heavy collection with five songs that stretch across a full hour. The shortest song is six and a half minutes long. The other four all reach beyond 10 minutes, and two exceed 15.

Time stamps and sonic markers might make you guess ITYOTP is a Southern Lord doom act where deep, prolonged drones separate repetitious riff modulations; maybe the drummers serve to fuel momentum and add thunder behind the guitars' monolithic hum and buzz. But ITYOTP is not a doom band.

Jamón's cover, adorned with a busy and brightly colored collage, suggests something much more impatient, more flailing and frenzied, something like Lightning Bolt's hyperactive noise rock, but ITYOTP is not a noise rock band.

The truth lies, as it tends to, somewhere in the middle: The songs develop patiently, but they're prone to fits. Drummers Dave Cantwell and Jenks Miller drive a steady momentum, but they avalanche into a percussive torrent two and a half minutes into "You Want To Live, But We Will Die Free." On "Workin' For Nothin'," the band plays an Om-like mantra against a backdrop of steady percussion, meandering skronk-jazz guitar and heavy bass riffs. Throughout, bandleader Aaron Smithers buries his hollered vocals, adding more texture than narrative.

Despite the band's bottom-heavy bulk, ITYOTP always feels as if it's trying to claw its way out of the abyss rather than take us down with them. It's too energetic to truly be considered doom, too playful and optimistic. But it's patient and deliberate, churning a strong Krautrock undertow of hypnotic repetition and near-industrial rhythmic insistence.

The end result is an unusual endurance test—long, sure, but engaging and entertaining. The hour-long album doesn't feel taxing, precisely because its outbursts are as thoughtful as its meanderings. And its weight doesn't stop its upward trajectory.

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