The Dead Science had to change its name from the Sweet Science after it discovered that some other band had the same name. The change from Sweet to Dead, however, seems entirely appropriate in light of the inescapably baleful mood their music exudes on in their new EP, “Bird Bones in the Bughouse.”
One might reasonably expect something other than a bouncy, summer-time fun record from a band two-thirds of which is made up of frequent Xiu Xiu collaborators. Bass player Jherek Bischoff and guitarist/singer Sam Mickens have both lent their musical talents to Jamie Stewart’s astoundingly depressing noise-pop project. The elder Bischoff brother, Korum, fills out the trio’s line-up on drums.
From Korum’s opening round of booming drum rolls, it’s apparent that The Dead Science is more than just the average garage band with a penchant for the dark side. Both Bischoff brothers have jazz training in their musical backgrounds. However, the casual passerby would be incorrect in the almost universally safe assumption that since a band’s members have been schooled in jazz, the music is going to be ponderous, stuffy, spinning progressive crap. The Dead Science accomplishes the rare feat of exploiting the tools that a jazz education offers without rubbing the listener’s face in it or getting so wrapped up in chops and technical displays that the music is meaningless to all but the most elite band camp geeks.
“Bird Bones in the Bughouse” provides a little under a half an hour of engaging, dynamic and gorgeous cabaret rock, and shows that musical skill doesn’t always hinder expression.