Rectangle | Uno Nunca Sabe

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Rock: Math Rock Rock: Modern Rock Moods: Type: Experimental
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Uno Nunca Sabe

by Rectangle

Sideways smiling noise-pop melodies and confrontational post-rock angularity. likened in sound and spirit to cathartic pop-wrecks like the three Ps: Polvo, Pavement and The Pixies - heaviest on the Polvo. The band debuted in 1998 with an EP, Prowl Acros
Genre: Rock: Math Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hit My Heart Wrong
6:31 $0.99
2. Lunatic Plans
3:44 $0.99
3. Beer
3:40 $0.99
4. Semphore Word
3:43 $0.99
5. Surreal Is More Eel
4:35 $0.99
6. Waiver fom Procyon
2:36 $0.99
7. The Inconclusive Sleuth
6:22 $0.99
8. Buy Buy Buy
4:05 $0.99
9. Western Union
7:18 $0.99
10. Space Perspective
2:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Born of the same fertile heartland soil as The Poster Children, Hum and Braid, Rectangle create a distinctive melange of sideways smiling noise-pop melodies and confrontational post-rock angularity, likened in sound and spirit to cathartic pop-wrecks like the three Ps: Polvo, Pavement and The
Pixies - heaviest on the Polvo. The band debuted in 1998 with an EP, Prowl Across the Arctic, followed in 2000 by their first Stereorrific album, Bunker. Their latest release, Uno Nunca Sabe, takes their guitar wrangling and lyrical tangling in even more fiercely experimental territory - at times bombastic and abrasive, at times delicate and melodic, but at all times innovative and surprising.



to write a review


Approaching rock from a sideways perspective
Approaching rock from a sideways perspective, Illinois band Rectangle plays a peculiar brand of noisy pop/rock. The folks at Stereorrific first tweaked our interest by comparing the band to The Poster Children (one of our all-time favorites)...and the comparison rings do comparisons to other greats like Polvo, The Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr. But while the influences are many and varied...Rectangle is ultimately a band with their own style and sound. And what a sound they have. Ranging from thoughtful and moody to wild and out of control, the tunes on Uno Nunca Sabe are intelligent, occasionally thrilling, and often times confusing. The band's guitar assault is times so crazed and atonal that the tunes seem to get lost inside themselves. Fortunately, the folks in this band counterbalance their noisy stuff with lighter more peculiar material that provides a nice overall curious vibe. Listeners may confused as to whether they should dance or laugh while spinning this album as the band has an odd sense of humor. Not an outfit to be easily figured out, these folks are both entertaining and talented...


Angular rock
Rectangle was one of the all-too-well-kept secrets of my college town, but their second album ignores the scoffing frat guys and focuses on getting its angular rock on. From the stuttering slabs of guitar of “Hit My Heart Wrong” that jumpstart Uno Nunca Sabe to the surprisingly gentle “Space Perspective” that closes it, an equal surplus of charm and left-hand turns await to run you off the road. Champaign’s heirs to the bent-until-broken indie rock lineage of Pavement and Polvo didn’t stick around long after the album came out, but that’s no excuse to ignore the campfire doo-wop of “Western Union,” the subtle wordplay in “Surreal is More Eel,” or the harmonic chimes in “Semaphore Word.”

The most wonderfully weird album
When local indie rockers Rectangle dropped their stellar full-length debut, Bunker, in 2000, it was something of a revelation. Fusing obvious influences, like Polvo and Sonic Youth, with a loose pop sensibility, the band managed to produce a coherent album that perfectly captured much of their material’s idiosyncratic charm. Bunker proved that the band, often written off as being both “too noisy” and “too weird,” enjoyed catchy melodies as much as anyone else – they just buried their melodies under layers of dissonance.

Three years later, Uno Nunca Sabe – loosely translated from Spanish as “one never knows“ – finds the members of Rectangle pursuing slightly different avenues of songwriting. They’re still weird, they’re still noisy, and, God bless ‘em, they’re still influenced by Sonic Youth; they even name-check the band not three minutes into “Hit My Heart Wrong,” the album’s cacophonous opener. In accordance with the ambivalence inherent in the album title, however, Rectangle has learned the fine art of subtly creating a mood and then turning it on its head.

“Hit My Heart Wrong” exemplifies the band’s newfound sense of twisted atmospherics. Facilitated by singer-guitarist Orion Layton’s confident, warm vocals and witty-yet-poetic lyrics (“Last night I misspent my youth!”), the song jumps haphazardly from discordant verses to thoughtful choruses without tripping on its own cleverness.

Rectangle pulls off this balancing act repeatedly on Sabe. “Beer” begins as the aural equivalent of a hangover before morphing into a tangled, distorted anthem, with Layton’s lyrics skillfully following suit. Singer-guitarist Matt Mitchell’s “Western Union” is even more extreme in its contrasts, placing doo-wop backing vocals from defunct local folkies Sarsaparilla against a wave of feedback that closes the song. The album’s final track, “Space Perspective,” defines the band’s ambivalence, sounding simultaneously like a pleasant in-joke – it’s acoustic – and a completely honest, pretty song.

Despite Rectangle’s movement towards subtlety, Sabe has its share of excellent pseudo-anthems as well. “Semaphore Word” features the band at the peak of its powers, with rocking, angular guitars and Layton vocals that seem to defy gravity. The working class disillusionment of “Buy Buy Buy” hits a similar note, bolstered by punchy, rhythmic complaints (“Got to carmelize lattes and satisfy demands!”) to which any part-time worker can relate.

It’s this talent for wedding the mundane with the strange that, more than anything, gives Sabe its wings. “Surreal is more real,” Layton intones phonetically in “Surreal is More Eel,” and, no matter what the subject matter, the band drives the point home musically in every song. The approach works. Uno Nunca Sabe is the most wonderfully weird album Champaign-Urbana is likely to produce this year.

Jeremy Keller, LAS Magazine

Should establish Orion Layton as singularly Champaign's finest songwriter
Probably the biggest beef anyone could possibly have against Champaign's Rectangle is their tendency to wear their influences on their sleeves. Their debut, Bunker, was, at low points, some dudes who were really really into Pavement, and at high points, truly transcendent rock music. Uno Nunca Sabe, which translates to "one never knows," shows more of an emphasis on singer Orion Layton's amazing sense of melody, combined with the band's need to go to some places that Malkmus or Thurston Moore never bothered mining.

The album starts off with "Hit My Heart Wrong", which appeared on the Arborvitae Records Foreign Nationals compilation a while back. The guitars explode, and then shut up. And then explode. And then shut up. There's some patented Rectangle atonal "angular" guitar noodling before the first line of the album, which rhymes "memoir" with "armoire." I mean, who does that? Rectangle does.

At the roots of their best work, Rectangle executes thee pop song as well as anyone. Exhibits A, B, and C: The "wasting my time" chorus of Beer, the vocal theatrics of "Semaphore Word" followed immediately by the prettiest of guitar harmonics, and the dirty, speedy melodic punk stopping on a dime for Layton to declare "it's alright, buy buy buy" on "Buy Buy Buy". The last two tracks show the band going in a drastically different direction. The sparse, chilled, slow and drawling feel of "Western Union" gives the best backdrop imaginable for a song that starts off "South Dakota is a place full of motherfuckers, cops, and truckers." The album closes with a finger picked McCartney-ish ballad with some fine ladies on backing vocals, a beautiful closer that one would not expect from the band.

The high point is no doubt the middle of the album, tracks 5 and 6, the first of which is as close as they get to the Under Pressure/Baba O'Riley/fuckin Stairway perfection of Bunker's "Teohutican". The chorus sounds like "surreal is more real," but, in vintage Rectangle fashion, the song is titled "Surreal Is More Eel". For a song that is beautiful thanks in no small part to some out-of-key notes thrown into what would otherwise be a major key romp, it just seems more than fitting. Why not be difficult? Track 6 is "Waiver from Procyon", which wouldn't have sounded out of place following up "Web In Front" on Archers of Loaf's first album. This album should establish Layton as singularly Champaign's finest songwriter, and the seven game series between Uno Nunca Sabe and Absinthe Blind's Rings for the title of the town's album of the year will be a battle to behold.

CD Baby

Rectangle reminds me of junkyard art the way they make something clever out of the most inconsequential novelty, the way they playfully experiment with these noise-pop, post-rock multi-dimensional songs. With an "I don't care," dissonant, messy rock approach, they are masters at capturing and celebrating the weird and the quirky, the juxtaposed elements that don't fit and cause friction between the parts. Focusing on those conflicts and dissonances gives their music a carefree but purposeful intent. They're not out to make just another popular, mainstream album; quite the contrary. Their torquing and jumbling of harmonies, colors and ideas gives their ten-track album, Uno Nunca Sabe, the same merit as abstract visual art. If the Pixies, Polvo or Pavement are your cup of tea, this album is a must-hear.


GREAT album
GREAT album. If you like Polvo and other "NO-Wave" kinda music, you'll love this...

Swooping, tangling guitars
Jagged yet elegant, Rectangle's creepy, mangled songs would make Ash Bowie proud. Swooping, tangling guitars navigate accurate, loosely structured arrangements, occasionally chiming in together for abstractly melodic choruses. Refreshingly, there's not a Top-40 hook or traditionally metered rhythm to be found here. Lyrics are dry but warmly layered, emphasizing their sound as much as their meaning. Ash Bowie purists should love Rectangle -- especially those who love Polvo's angular and disjointed Today's Active Lifestyles. Few recognize the difficulty and ingenuity in tuning guitars this strangely and singing this atonally, but for those who do, Rectangle are their diamond in the rough.