The Self-Starter Foundation
By: Michael Jones
Eric Richter possesses one of my favorite voices in modern music and applies said voice to wildly differing projects: Richter's first band, Christie Front Drive, is often heralded as one of the best emo bands that ever existed (editor's note: the irony of the oxymoronic "best emo band" notwithstanding…), and his next venture, Antarctica, produced the sublime and richly textured 81:03 by mixing dense gothic atmospherics, futuristic electronics, and a healthy mix of moody guitars. After Antarctica disbanded, fans were left wondering what Richter would do next. As evidenced by his new band, The 101, Richter apparently found himself an old garage and ensconced himself and his new bassist and drummer in it until they had produced an EP's worth of good old-fashioned power pop.
The 101's self-titled five-song EP is an instantly enjoyable affair. Imagine old cassettes of bands you knew in high school and you'll start to get the idea. That is not to say this is by any means amateurish- just loud, raw, and loose with studio trickery kept to a delightful minimum (except for a few well-placed and creative overdubs) and refreshing brevity, as no song breaks the two-and-a-half minute mark. Richter's voice is still the icing on the tits, even if his lyrics are, as was the case with Antarctica, mostly indiscernible. But the melodies are always what makes you hit, err… what do they call “rewind” these days? The music backs up the vocals with hyperactive tempos constructed of chunky chords, chiming arpeggios, no-nonsense bass lines, and a drummer armed with incredible timing and an arsenal of propulsive rolls and fills.
Richter has once again proven that he will continue to follow whatever muse he chooses, and, although, I'm sure that the fans of his two previous bands will be scratching their heads about the new stripped down, emo-free direction, they won't be standing still for too long – the music of The 101 will ensure that they'll stop their shoegazing and bellyaching and just rock.