Rising from Blacklight Sunshine like a phoenix from Icarus’ own cremation, More Than Yesterday‘s aesthetic is still in-process. When it coheres, the band’s weighty contradictions give their music a kind of tensile strength. It is a new thing.
Seeing MTY at home, in Nebraska, revealed the foundation they are building on; melodic metal for the Midwestern bar set. It may seem obvious, but having followed the band from a distance I hadn’t remembered the frame in which they play; a frame where Harley-Davidson t-shirts, smoking onstage, and hardcore emoting resonate with big crowds. “We’ll Wake Tomorrow” and “Breakdown” crunch and burn in all the right places, like a Camaro driven through a chase scene. You know the moves, and their familiarity only greases your urge to rock.
But MTY aspires to higher things than endless shows for the greek boys & girls at the local dive. Revealed through the wearing of white belts, progressive playing from all 3 instrumentalists, snaky hip shakes, and in a hundred other ways this band’s horizons transcend the Missouri to the east and the Rockies the west. In Chris’ (BLS’s re-located guitarist) absence, Blake is blurring the line between playing rhythm and lead in his riffs. He’s also taken a page from the book of Edge, transforming the echo pedal from nifty trick into essential atmosphere – the very air MTY breathes at times. Dan (bass) and Jeremy (drums) combine hive-mind tightness with a sonically expanding, fluid orignality in the rhythm section. The chorus of “Somebody Saved” epitomizes this new angle; it blows up by becoming suddenly bigger and airier then the verse at the very second I expected thick metallic chords, the space between a guitar line and the rhythm occupied only by Russ’s vocal plea. Or, listen to everything about “Bodies,” a song that’s closer to grasping and expressing a kind of heaven than anything I’ve found in a Book.
Lest I sound like I’m pushing my friends’ band too hard, there are times when More Than Yesterday’s contradictions seem more like a train wreck in the pages of a slick magazine than the yin and yang achieved in “Somebody Saved.” Some of Russ’s lyrics are overly self-indulgent (“Savior”) and structural repetition takes the drive out of “Not Enough” (AB could be moving; ABAB is overkill).
Upshot; apply the 20% scalpel, and MTY is on the brink of fulfilling their chosen name.