Yesterday you had a chance to read a full review about Acid Rain, the latest piece of sonic artistry by Amos Pitsch, a multi-talented mastermind behind many bands from the state of Wisconsin. Tenement is one of those bands known to the broader auditorium, and Pitsch included Predatory Headlights, their third full-length album released in 2015. What I noticed first about this album is the heaviness of the packaging. I immediately thought it was a double album, and I wasn’t wrong at all. It turns out that the band also invested so much into the packaging, which also contributes to the heaviness. There’s no way something’s going to ruin the vinyl besides all these layers of carton. Predatory Headlights comes with a thoughtfully assembled cut-n-paste graphic imagery that perfectly suits the sonic aesthetics of this release. If you’re into meaningful avant-garde, dadaist, and punk rock collages, the visual identity of Predatory Headlights will be right up your alley.
Considering there are 25 songs included, some vinyl purists would probably argue if Predatory Headlights is a double album or not, but it’s unquestionably material you have to listen to in one sitting. This full-length keeps you entertained as long as it spins on your turntable because the band invested so many brilliant ideas and excellent musicianship into this release. There’s no way you’ll not going to enjoy all these flawlessly performed lead vocals, harmonious singalongs, perfectly executed riffs, ear-appealing chord progressions, cleverly assembled basslines, and mid-tempo rhythmic sequences. As soon as you put a needle on this piece of plastic, you’ll notice Tenement are not joking around with their music, and the quality remains their priority from scratch to finish. Also, it’s nearly mindblowing how these guys managed to record 25 compositions without sounding repetitious and boring. Each track bursts with fresh ideas, chord progressions, riffs, guitar licks, melodies, harmonies, themes, and other creative sonic maneuvers. Some bands aren’t capable of recording 25 songs during their entire careers without sounding repetitious, so I have to give props to Tenement for being such an incredible band. Also, keep in mind these experienced musicians have nine more releases, and all are equally good.
Those stumbling upon this band for the first time may expect nothing but divine punk rock numbers drenched in many complementary genres. You’ll notice explorations into the fundamentals of sixties garage rock, seventies rock’n’roll, power pop, classic pop, soul, avant-garde, experimental, acoustic, folk, and Americana. Don’t be surprised if you stumble on other music genres because these guys are capable of transforming their sound in a matter of seconds without losing consistency. Here comes the fun part, you will maintain the impression that you’re listening to the same band all the time. They ultimately succeeded in merging all their interests into a singular, colossal piece of sonic artistry with not a single bad song included in it. Tenement continuously levitates between highly energetic punk rock/garage rock songs, baroque/power/classic pop ballads, and avant-garde/experimental/free-improv maneuvers. The band wanted to create a pleasant listening experience separated with longevous, unsettling tracks decorated with dissonant piano notes. It sounds much more entertaining than just a winning streak of ear-appealing songs because this album would sound boring after 25 identical tracks. This way, the band wanted to tickle your interest in the remainder of the material, and I think it’s a brilliant move. I believe Predatory Headlights is still available on double vinyl, compact disc, and cassette, so head over to Tenement’s Bandcamp page or Don Giovanni Records and purchase this gem in your preferred format.