Spare 12 Rods

Eric Magnuson

The 12 Rods’ song “Glad That It’s Over” was recently included on the movie soundtrack to Orange County. But if there was any justice in the music industry, 12 Rods would be known for much more than a single song on a mediocre movie soundtrack, and that’s assuming that the public even took notice of that.

Their latest effort, Lost Time, is the best of their four albums. They once again combine pop melodies with ingenious originality to create a sound that surpasses anything on the mainstream pop market.

The album begins with a quirky introduction that leads into the smooth groove of “Fake Magic 8-ball.” It’s an unlikely beginning to an album that is filled with body shaking rock beats, but it shows the diversity that 12 Rods can successfully incorporate into a single record.

One of the best songs on the album, “Terrible Hands,” sounds like a high school fight song with more testosterone than the entire football team. But somehow they manage to pull off that sound without sounding like a pretentious punk rock act that doesn’t have anything more to give than three chords and a screaming vocalist.

Drummer Dave King brings his jazz technique from one of his other bands, Happy Apple, and showcases what rock n roll drumming has been lacking for years, and may have never had in the first place. His drum fills on “Boy In the Woods” make the listener realize what kind of possibilities the drums really have.

But there are some low points on the album. The opening lyrics to “Summertime Vertigo” seem flat for having so much attention put on them. When Ryan Olcott sings, “touch the devils hand,” I’m left thinking, “Come on, 12 Rods. I know you can do better than that.”

Each song is nearly superb on its own but they don’t flow smoothly from one track to the next. There is an awkward pause in between each song that feels as if somebody has stopped speaking in midsentence.

But these pauses in between tracks become irrelevant after listening to the entire album a handful of times and after taking in each song as its own entity. The record keeps a fairly steady upbeat that makes it hard to take it out of the CD player. At a minimal length of 39 minutes, it’s easy to listen to Lost Time over and over again. The material continues to stay fresh and keeps the listener bobbing their head, or whatever they might do when they listen to good music.

For 12 Rods’ CD release party at First Avenue on Oct. 15, their newest member, Jake Hansen who is a freshman at the University, will be making his first Minneapolis debut with the band. Ev Olcott joked around on a recent appearance on KQ Homegrown and said, “We got Jake in the band so that I only need to play two keyboard parts at once instead of three.” Hansen will also be playing guitar for the band.

With the accessibility of this new album, it can be speculated that 12 Rods will be nationally known for something more than just a song on a movie soundtrack.