Town Portal: Chronopoly

Danish math-rockers prove more than the sum of their parts

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There was a time when there were so many math-rock bands emerging from the suburbs of Western Europe and North America that the initial appeal of peculiar time signatures, melodic intricacy and limb-threatening polyrhythms delivered by skinny chaps in thick-rimmed spectacles swiftly began to fade.

But every now and then this subgenre still throws up a gleaming gem, and Copenhagen’s Town Portal are one such delight. Well-schooled in the rhythmically precise but texturally torrid sonic world of Polvo, Don Caballero and Shellac, these young number-crunchers are wringing fresh thrills from a well-worn blueprint, as a tough undercurrent of metallic grit drives these eight meandering but dynamic instrumentals.

The finest moments here – the insistent riff collage of Chronoceros, the twinkling but dissonant Uncle Genie, the simply beautiful Coordinated Universal Time Stretch – hark back to the sublime mixture of light and shade pioneered by this band’s primary influences, but there’s also a strong sense that something new and wonderfully playful is going on within that familiar storm of complexity.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.