It might be tempting to dismiss Austin’s Sixteen Deluxe as just another American band held in thrall by My Bloody Valentine’s impenetrable wall of feedback, but such a premature assessment would ignore this young foursome’s stunning conflation of smartly employed noise and irresistible hooks. The band’s superb debut album, Backfeedmagnetbabe (Trance Syndicate), integrates indie-rock looseness, AM-radio pop sensibilities, and waves of color-splashed feedback into a slippery whole. When Carrie Clark sings, Sixteen Deluxe take on a particularly sunny cast. Masterfully hiding excruciatingly loud guitars in catchy car-radio pop, the mix is so thorough, the loops of well-controlled feedback so fluid, that you really have to concentrate to realize how punishing the guitars actually are. When Chris Smith sings, the tunes remain highly melodic, but there’s a darker, less certain undertone; forlorn guitars reinforce the troubled calm of his singing. Personalized covers of Brian Eno’s “Here Come the Warm Jets” and Big Star’s “Kangaroo” not only betray some of the band’s obvious influences but demonstrate their interpretive elan. Better yet are their hard-driving originals. This is their Chicago debut. Fellow Austinites Ed Hall headline. Saturday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Dye.