As reported by the fine folks at Pitchfork, "The most dangerous concert I've ever been to -- and possibly the best --was put on by The Narrator in New Haven last November... when the 80 people in attendance began jumping around during the band's mid-set performance of ‘The Electric Slide’, the floor collapsed: Skulls and bones started breaking, and we all had this awesome band to thank for our hospital bills and a perfectly unrequited night."

When asking The Narrator's Jesse Woghin about the incident he simply nods, "That's what we do, we dominate." There's a profound beauty in his modesty. Sometimes it's easier to just walk away, shrug your shoulders and mumble, "Oh, it was nothing special." Simply stated, The Narrator are in many ways this soft-spoken diffidence incarnate. They acknowledge the fact that they're not re-inventing the music world per se. But sometimes, the most humble of attempts can actually lead to triumph.

And you might want to count The Narrator's debut full-length Such Triumph in as one such achievement. Just don't tell The Narrator's Sam Axelrod anything along those lines. Axelrod acknowledges the fact that both himself and his band mates (James Barron, N8 Heneghan, and Jesse Woghin) labored hard and steadfastly over Such Triumph, but he's also quick to point out that he doesn't like the idea of the current hype-a-minute indie boom, “We simply set out to make our best record possible regardless of outward expectation.”

What were you anticipating from such an unassuming group of fellows? Diamond-studded belts and $600 haircuts? There is rock here, and it's mined and polished and cut and refined, but it's much more raw than anything you'd bring home to a would-be-spouse. Written over the past year, Such Triumph (recorded and mixed by Scott Adamson at Chicago's Semaphore Recording Studio) throws the 'for those about to post-rock, we salute you' book out the window, and whittles away subliminally at the band's collective outside influences. It's aggressive and tempestuous and oblique and all the things you wouldn't normally expect to hear from an active band geographically based in the largest city in Illinois. But it's also a lesson in introspection. The struggle to understand the present, while the fucked up ways in which we got there are explored, exposed and espoused upon within Such Triumph, only it thankfully lacks the miscreant coming-of-age tag that starts with "e" and ends with "o." And it's done up among a series of chaotic, estranged numbers that run the gamut of influence from Cap N' Jazz ("Pregnant Boys") to Unwound ("Crapdragon") to early Pavement ("Wolves in the Walls").

Don't assume that the Narrator are simply pillaging bits of their record collections and reassembling the pieces. Such Triumph's amalgamated influences possess a newness, a willingness to try, and the gall to work through it, dispelled through tense bursts of energy, reverb heavy downtime and rain soaked t-shirts.

The Narrator's path isn't inhibited by prospect; they just want to make music that's challenging to themselves, without worrying about the here and now. But maybe, just maybe, given the right circumstances, some much needed vigor, and a little dash of well-heaped humility, The Narrator and Such Triumph could very well turn the music world on it’s ear after all.


Such Triumph [Flameshovel 06.28.05]
Youth City Fire EP [Flameshovel 2004]
The Cavaliers 7" [Flameshovel 2003]