The Austin scene is unquestionably one of the most diverse and fascinating in all of North America, and over the years the city has given us so many countless contributors to the pop music lexicon that it’s easy to forget the plaintive DIY roots that paved the way for Austin’s success. One of the better bands to emerge from the city in the last twenty years is none other than Opposite Day, a heavy rock three piece that dabbles in progressive music, jazz, funk, experimentalism and avant-garde math rock. Since 2001 Opposite Day has released over a dozen recordings ranging from singles to extended plays to full length albums, and 2018 sees them releasing a brand new EP loaded down with five original songs that employ the group’s most beloved attributes while offering a glimpse into the future of their ever-evolving sound. Their new record is titled Divide By Nothing, and ironically that’s exactly what I took away from its content. Opposite Day have been through a lot; lineup changes, tons of elaborate concept pieces and a musical culture that is as predictable as the weather, but this record is their creative statement to end the decade with. Their sound is indivisible because of their shared aesthetics, and it’s grown into a force to be reckoned with in the last few years.
Divide By Nothing is a ridiculously stretched out EP, unconscionably refined beyond what most indie rock fans are accustom to, and even a little edgier than what the band’s most loyal fans might be expecting. “Day of the Triffids,” “Zeroes in Your Eyes,” “Penetrating Atmosphere” and “Hemonaut” don’t even attempt to make themselves accessible to a pop-oriented audience; instead they prefer to dwell in the sonic oasis that is generated by the bands nauseating tizzy of mathematical rhythms and power chords. Don’t get me wrong – I loved what I heard in Divide By Nothing. It’s so decadently stylized in groove and guttural complexity that most audiophiles of an avant-garde persuasion will likely herald it a masterpiece, but when it comes to getting mainstream airplay on FM radio, it’s hard to picture any of these songs fitting in beside contemporary popstars.
This EP is the antithesis of easy listening music; it’s hardcore, experimental style progressive metal is played at modulating breakneck tempos through the black and white filtration of a scooped master mix. The bass will push you around while the guitar will punch you in the stomach, but that might be the most charming part of Opposite Day’s latest record. This isn’t a Disney soundtrack; it’s a raw, uncut piece of rock n’ roll that is as intricate as a Sun Ra piece and as bruising as Ride the Lightning. When the chips are down, there’s no arguing what this band is all about, and there’s something to be said about their dedication to craftsmanship which has only gotten better with time. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next LP these guys dish out in the years to come, but Divide By Nothing will hold me over in the meantime with its infectious grooves and unforgiving riffage.