Inkling (El Deth)
With Inkling, Knoxville's Senryu take a major step forward from their last release, the Dying in Fast Forward EP. Dying was bogged down by the fancy-pants factor—the tracks were constructed in non-traditional ways that were often trickier than necessary, with time changes, odd sounds, and a jarring eclecticism that often detracted from the songs themselves. The new release finds the band regaining focus and delivering an artfully honed pop/rock product in the process. That's not to say that Senryu auteur Wil Wright has simplified his process. Inkling is cerebral, and there are plenty of surprises within the album's 11 tracks. This time around, however, the occasional musical detours effectively accentuate the songs without meandering too far off track. At times reminiscent of Todd Rundgren, Shudder to Think, and Xiu Xiu, Senryu, circa 2010, has emerged as a smart and innovative band in full command of its abundant powers. Inkling's songs are pretty, passionate, hard-rocking, intricate, scary, sad, and funny—sometimes all at once—but always in the context of pop.