the way to a monster’s lair

click to see more photos from the show

Chicago’s In Tall Buildings played an opening set at the High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI on March 24, 2011. While the debut album was written and recorded entirely by Erik Hall, In Tall Buildings has expanded to three members for touring. The resulting chemistry is excellent – the songs have taken on a new life and are infinitely more impressive live than their quite good recorded counterparts. Click below for set-closer “The Way to a Monster’s Lair”.

passing pavement underfeet

The material that makes up In Tall Buildings’s self-titled album was recorded at home between 2006 and 2008, and it’s not surprising. The songs of Erik Hall’s one-man band have a lo-fi, homey feel, complete with ambient background noise and an airiness in the production.

While a strong album overall, the songs generally get better and better as the album progressives. The somersaulting layers of “Walking Man” kick off In Tall Buildings, followed by the unexpected sound of clarinets on “The Way to a Monster’s Lair”.

The drums on “Twenty One” seem slightly off and almost like accidental background noise, a feature that is either ingeniously interesting or annoying to the point of distraction – it’s hard to decide which.

In Tall Buildings ends strong, beginning with a solid Gillian Welsh cover (“Elvis Presley Blues”), continuing to build with “Alarm Will Sound”, and culminating with the superb “Flemishing”. The restrained majesty of the opening gets the listener excited to dive into the nine-minute track, a bit of a feat for the non-noodling set. Wry lyrics like “bitter and exhausted / I’m a used bag of tea” further endear and help to make “Flemishing” the best offering on the album – an investment well worth the wait.

In Tall Buildings dropped 04.06.10.
Find out more at the In Tall Buildings website.