When taken at face value, “Blood v. Electricity,” the 10th album from the experimental alt-rock project Unknown Component, is more than impressive. Taking into further consideration that Unknown Component is the product of a sole band member, Keith Lynch, is enough to shed light on the depth of effort behind this particularly encompassing and intricate collection of songs.
In the 10 years that Lynch has been making music, he has come to recognize his strengths, yet not shy away from experimentation. The result is an ever-changing and evolving yet familiar tone of records. With “Blood v. Electricity,” Unknown Component carefully teases out multiple themes such as darkness and power within relationships in endlessly layered and complicated compositions that require, if not demand, multiple listens.
- Unknown Component
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24
- Java Creek Cafe
- Cost: Free
- More details: Unknowncomponent.com
Building from relaxed melodies and Lynch’s subtle vocal delivery, the songs of this record coax the listener into entering worlds they may not expect to be visiting upon the strums of the opening chords. From this simplistic approach ironically stems the complicated nature of Unknown Component’s music, which is anything but ingenuous. In fact, a stellar pair of headphones may almost be considered a requirement for listening to this record just to be sure that none of the subtleties — every electronic drum beat, every elusive pick of the guitar — go unnoticed.
Consumed as a singular entity, as it should, “Blood v. Electricity” achieves a rare feat in that it works in a semi-reverse crescendo, with each song seemingly slowing from the one that precedes it. However, in this manner, it works perfectly as the sharpness and anger that composes the opening tracks such as “Nowhere is Alone” and “Pendulum” slowly begins to fade as the album builds to its hauntingly beautiful conclusion, “Through the Surface.” On this standout track, it is as if we have marched through the darkness and finally found our way to the light, as Lynch lets his voice hover amid the album’s most melodic composition and the light acoustic guitars complement angelic backing chords.
Lynch continues to that he is entirely capable of achieving what normally is the result of a collaborative effort of dozens of people.