Pure grandeur: Spellbinding sound-scapes

>>Ostinato: Left Too Far Behind  (Exile On Mainstream Records)

F**k Phil Spector. Ostinato's Left Too Far Behind has the real Wall of Sound. The distortion on the group's second album, released last year on Germany's Exile On Mainstream Records, literally bleeds through your stereo headphones, shaking the foam casing.

The three-piece (guitar, bass, drums) band, partially composed of good Charlottesville stock, has begun to play around town once again, following a local lull while they toured parts of Europe this summer. Now I can tell you their multimedia-packed shows have to be experienced to understand the full magnitude of their existence.

Left Too Far Behind begins with "Majestic," and if there's a word that's the polar opposite of "misnomer" ("nomer"?) that would be the best way to describe the title-song dialectic.

Waves of cascading distorted guitar chords rain down in stereo from the first seconds of the song, before equally high waves of echo-filled drums pound away in a beat that sounds like something produced by a caveman who was a member of the high school jazz ensemble.

From there, vocals in a tongue I don't recognize sound as if they're shouted from the same storm clouds that brought the guitar– slow and mildly trance-like, they're more a chant than a tune, morphing into a howled ending that would have made them the center of attention, if not for the guitar virtuosity.

The album continues with "Convolution," which might be easier to describe as a "song" than "Majestic." Here, instrumental mumbo-jumbo still reigns supreme, with parts of a standard pop number verse-chorus can be found among the din. From a long instrumental introduction (parts of which remind me of the guitar of early U2, but that's just me), guitarist David Hennessy lets his vocal chords rip (literally).

"Twisted...movement...under" and some other disconnected words are all I've gotten out of repeated close listens, but rather than be the next Dylan and the band's mouthpiece, Hennessy has chosen to use his impressively gritty range as another instrument.

With a moderate rock drum beat and one of the catchiest distorted bass riffs I've heard in a while, "Annotation" comes next, all picked single guitar notes spilling on top of each other while a sample of unknown origin and language enjoys center stage. Purely an instrumental, this song shows off what the group can accomplish when they know all ears are on their performances, not distracted by some catchy melody– engaging to listen to, the song picks up a bit of various genres as it roars by.

Though only eight tracks, the album plays for a little more than 46 minutes. If short, simple punk songs are what you're looking for, perhaps a listen to the new Green Day would soothe your savage pop beast. But if something grander, a sonic sound-scape of sorts, would suit your palate, Ostinato might be your ticket.

Left Too Far Behind