Airstrip’s debut album, Willing, opens with an immediate declaration from the guitar. “Let’s prevent your face from sagging. Pick them up, your feet are dragging,” sings front man Matt Park. There’s a sarcastic tone, but it lets the listener know this record requires attention.
Airstrip is a collaboration of epic local proportions. Park, formerly of Veelee, is joined by John Crouch and Nick Petersen from Horseback on drums and bass, respectively and filling out the group is Gross Ghost’s Tre Acklen on Guitar.
The quartet blends together nicely on Willing. Park’s knack for finding simple, but fascinating phrases to repeat is given weight by Crouch and Petersen’s dark and foreboding low end. Airstrip knows exactly when to dig into a song’s recurring rhythms, when to build on them, and when to switch gears to make complex, but approachable songs.
Mix this with a soft haze of psych and curious vocals and Airstrip delivers the grand “Bitching Hour.” It travels from a single, simple rhythm to a delirious swirl of guitars and vocal seamlessly.
While tracks like “Sleepy” and “Happenstance” deliver more patient, dark chants, Airstrip shows some good agility on Willing’s second half. “I Hit A Wall” is a short, energetic garage rock song similar to those of Last Year’s Men or Flesh Wounds. The discordant minute-long intro to “Angry Bed” gives way to a bright, soaring chorus.
Willing is a strong debut, but it only feels like the tip of the iceberg. Airstrip seems poised to surprise with even more compelling mixtures in the future.
Willing will be released by Holidays For Quince records on February 5.