It comes as a shock that 764-HERO's newest album, Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere
, is actually the band's fourth, and that guitarist/frontman John Atkins and drummer Polly Johnson founded the outfit all of six years ago. Here's an analogy: Remember that kid from high school who took too long getting out of his parents' house and ended up never really leaving, just renting an apartment a couple of traffic lights away? You run into him over Thanksgiving, and it's like "Wow -- you're still working at the video store?" Likewise, where 764-HERO resides, musically, isn't anybody's destination. The band has never gotten out from under the vast shadow of Built to Spill, while its similarly influenced confreres in Modest Mouse bypassed them somewhere along the way, both creatively and professionally. Still, they keep plugging away.
And seeing the band live isn't without its rewards. For one, you and your snarkier hipster friends can play a vigorous few rounds of "Reference Check" (no points for noticing the pun in the new album's title; extra credit for knowing that there's a new bassist). Moreover, you can take ample comfort in the fact that, going by the songs, Atkins is way worse off than you -- or perhaps anyone.
And then there are the familiar pleasures of Doug Martsch-lite; the soaring riffs, the presto/change-o time signatures -- the sloppy, flannel-shirted indie-rock aesthetic that, we're sorry to inform you, is now officially passé. So go ahead, live out 764-HERO's nostalgia trip, drink piss-tasting beer like you mean it, and hell, when you run into what's-his-name from high school, tell him we said hi.