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Fin Fang Foom

Named for the giant green Chinese dragon of Marvel Comics lore, Fin Fang Foom is a Jacksonville-via-Chapel Hill three-piece which sounds like a much larger group. At core, they're an intelligent post-punk band with some math rock leanings. They feature a brawny, sophisticated rhythm section which interweaves with a trebly guitar, gravelly vocal meanderings separated by extended instrumental passages, unusual time signatures and unconventional song structures, and considerable loud-soft dynamics. Additionally, though, Fin Fang Foom makes admirable use of piano and flute, not as hip window dressing but as a way to augment their songs' impact, giving them a considerably more baroque, less typically rock feel.

The trio of guitarist Michael Triplett, bassist Edwin Sanchez, and drummer P. Enriquez came together in Jacksonville in 1996. After Michael Glass took Enriquez's place in 1997, Fin Fang Foom spent the next few years establishing themselves as a musical entity through constant touring and a handful of short-players. In 2001, the band issued their debut full-length, Texture, Structure, and the Condition of Moods, an impressive collection of spacious, sprawling, dark-hued post-punk songs. For their 2003 follow-up, With the Gift Comes the Curse, the trio refined their ominous yet graceful sound. In the tradition of Slint, the band seeks a bleak windswept beauty in its tumultuous but steady instrumental passages, which are anchored more by echoing piano lines than in the past, while offsetting those sections with raw, heartfelt vocals. Fin Fang Foom offer an admirable brand of intricate, doleful post-punk.