Sensory Overload: Go Analog embraces a traditional sound at Spacebar
Go Analog, in accordance with its name, approached a recent Thursday performance at Spacebar as though it had entirely missed out on the digital revolution.
Instead, the quartet, which includes Eric Croft (vocals/guitar), Keith Kemmerer (guitar), Michael Osbourne (bass) and Matt Fisher (drums), tended toward a more timeless, throwback sound that blended elements of blues, pop-rock and roots music. "My edges are worn and round," Croft sings on "Faded Smile," the leadoff track on the band's 2014 self-titled EP. On this evening at least, its music tended to exude the same comforting, lived-in feel.
Over the course of the group's abbreviated, 30-minute set, the musicians worked through bluesy shuffles, comparatively simmering numbers, and, at the close, one rowdier tune that kicked like a wild stallion.
This human feel made for an interesting contrast with artsy Richmond trio Those Manic Seas, who performed before Go Analog and were "fronted" by a vocalist who appeared via a TV screen perched on the shoulders of a store mannequin, like Max Headroom if the digital talking head lost his stutter and developed a fascination with indie rockers like Modest Mouse.
For Go Analog, even new songs sounded as though they could have existed decades back. Such was the case on one unreleased number, introduced as "Inside," which built around a shaggy guitar riff, dancing drums and Croft's good-natured vocals, which at times called to mind a scruffier version of Old 97's Rhett Miller. As with the music, the singer's words appeared to hew to more traditional themes. On one song, Croft attempted to wipe his mind free of painful memories ("I try to forget," he grumbled), and on another he fretted that even "time … is wasted on me" as tick-tock guitar riffs counted backward to zero.
Regardless, the music managed to maintain a sense of hope that bubbled to the surface as the set neared its end, Croft singing, "I'll be ok." The same could be said of Fisher, who was fighting off a wicked cold and hoped to be back at full strength by the time the band visits Brothers Drake Meadery for a concert on Friday, Oct. 16.