Album review: "Priorities"
Local guitar ensemble Tone may seem a bit out of place in a town known more for punk and go-go than for melodic post-rock. But Tone is more than a flash in the pan: The quintet has been performing its climactic instrumentals for two decades and adds five songs to its catalogue with its newest release, "Priorities."
The album showcases what Tone does best - shimmering, guitar-driven songs that swell and expand with each layered repetition. Album opener "Chrome Heart Shining" captivates with a trancelike spell as a lilting guitar melody floats over a sea of sustained chords. Those heavy drones add a mesmerizing effect to Tone's sound, but the group doesn't rely on them. The rippling guitars on "Wintermore" create a driving energy, while the entwined melodies of "A Just Shoot" form a complex tapestry that unwinds differently with each listen.
Tone is known for dense layers of guitars, but its rhythm section is equally responsible for the album's dramatic moments. As the epic 13-minute "Crop Circles" builds momentum, a rumbling bass melody emerges, adding a subtle groove before the guitars take back over. The song ends with more percussive chords anchored by crashing cymbals, capturing a dramatic - and memorable - finish.
--Catherine P. Lewis, Oct. 28, 2011