Even though Armed With Legs doesn’t seem interested in big and loud, it knows how to wield its stillness like a sledgehammer.
Review by David Feltman
As the name might suggest, Armed With Legs is a peculiar band. The Seattle two-piece trades in looping, dissonant melodies and abrasive percussion, but still manages to create heart-breakingly gentle songs.
The self-titled album opens on “Hey Hey,” a sparsely arranged track with minimalist plunking over morose harmonizing. The song sets the disposition of the entire album. The tracks that follow are equally small in scope, where every note feels reluctant and every lyric is timidly delivered. Not to imply that the band lacks confidence, it simply has a clear direction for the album and expertly develops it right from the beginning. The result is ideal rainy day, in-the-bedroom-with-the-lights-off fare, especially in its vinyl format.
The songs are filled with the sort of bathroom reverb that evokes a home recording, adding to the tone of the album. But even though Armed With Legs doesn’t seem interested in big and loud, it knows how to wield its stillness like a sledgehammer. When tracks like “Baby Rattlesnakes” raise the volume just a hair or so, it feels like waves of sound crashing down around you. The band mines its minimalism for all its worth in these moments, making subtle adjustments appear Earth-shattering.
The simplicity in the band’s craft is to be admired. Few bands can wring so much out of so little, but Armed With Legs makes the album feel effortless in its execution. Every element has the outward appearance of being coarse and clumsy, but the band transmutes the final product into something broodingly delicate.