Being Empty : Being Filled is about the completion of identity, with the Kansas City, MO band Listener offering up a full-serves shopping mall of human desire and anxiety in its ten tracks of aggressive yet flexible, sinewy but cohesive indie rock. The album is full of shiny details about all of the awful everyday truths and welcomes open fellowship with the audience.
Listener defines their genre as talk music, which makes sense, as it evokes conversation, with both confessional angst, and empathetic patient listening involved till “something makes sense.” There’s both a singer/songwriter clarity and a Who-level amount of energy in terse, trembling tracks like “Little Folded Fingers” and “Shock Value.” Though based in the Midwest, there’s a fascinating blend of different scenes in the band’s sound, from much-beloved D.C. post-punk to Pac NW indie stalwarts.
And yet sounding just like itself at the same time. Listener have been listening deeply to the underground, and haven’t missed a trick — the one-two drop down crunch, flange sparkle, near-spoken word descriptions of things falling apart in people, people falling upon things. They’ve been doing this for more than a decade, but this could have been something thrown together by righteously inspired prodigies who just happened upon the right interactive line up.
It’s the kind of quietly revolutionary band kicked up by the best garages of generations, from REM to Fugazi to Long Winters, At the Drive In to Mewithoutyou, inserting slithering and subversive imagery into early Saturday night anthems, where it’s all a happy blues to crush the week before. Thus, their tours virtually everywhere have been well received; this dynamic tension between thoughtfulness and execution, storytelling and celebration, are the kinds of unique connection with listeners that similarly mindful bands have made fan foundations on.
Rediscover your adulthood the way your inner child would see you with this punchy, power chord filled, noisy collection of alert lullabies. If you have anything at all left to believe in in this kind of world, this is the answer to those kinds of prayers.