Music, Print, Reviews March 5, 2013

Review: American Tomahawk – “So So Slowly, The History of a Perfect Spiral”

by Jed Murphy

American TOmahawkLead by Ault, Colorado native and Los Angeles, California resident Adam Halferty, American Tomahawk is a dream-like voyage that tells the story many people are living. With the help of friends Michael Spear and Mathew Wilcox, American Tomahawk has released two records and their second endeavor, So So Slowly, The History of a Perfect Spiral shows a band ready for a national audience.

Halferty is probably most well known for his role as the drummer of 3OH!3 and his work throughout the Colorado music scene. Growing up in Ault and attending high school in Eaton, Halferty left an early legacy particularly in northern Colorado in the band The Ax That Chopped the Cherry Tree.

So So Slowly, The History of a Perfect Spiral is intriguing in its simplicity and the almost disturbing nature of some of Halferty’s imagery. Musically, the songs tiptoe through the reverb-laden guitar and synth drone that is prominent in the alternative and chillwave bands that have come out in the last several years. But, even with the heavily affected drums and pianos looped into shoegaze, this album comes across as a modern midwestern folk album at its heart.

American TOmahawk1Halferty’s vocals are simple and unassuming, never over-reaching or exceptionally flashy. Combined with the heavy, but very common subject matter, the simplicity of his vocal style works in his favor. If anything makes his songs stand out, it is his lyrical content. The stories he tells are as real as they are at times unsettling. His imagery can be personal and resonates with an honest humanity.

When asked if this was something he set out to do when he wrote these songs he had this to say: “It changes. Sometimes it’s most definitely an accident. Other times it’s planned from the song’s inception. Sometimes the song just falls into my lap. Other times it sits for years and then comes out of nowhere again. I never can tell what will happen.”

The beauty of this album is how it can be interrupted in any way the listener wants and that is how Halferty plans to keep it. When asked if there was anything in particular he wanted listeners to take away from it, he said he would rather not comment on the songs themselves as if anything he said would change how his audience would perceive them.

The recordings themselves are impressive and very much an example of all that can be done in a home studio. Produced in Larchmont Village, California with additional tracking done in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the quality is professional and clean eliminating the need for expensive studio time. A modern album through and through, it is worth listening to and can be found on American Tomahawk is a band that has found a distinct sound moving forward with their sophomore album. It is no doubt that in a few short years you will find them on a national stage.

Leave a comment