AUGUSTA, GA - When last we saw Microtia, they’d just unleashed the impossibly slick “Distance is Oval” EP which, with only six tracks to its credit, was good enough to snag the No. 2 spot on our Best Albums of 2007 list. The band’s combustible yet refined cross-section of mid-00’s doom-pop and Between the Buried and Me-esque guitar wankery seemed to herald the coming of an immediate force in the modern rock world and, personally, we held our breath waiting for what would follow.
Fast-forward to 2010, and things have been relatively quiet on the Mircrotia front—though honestly, it’d probably help if we lived in Portland, Ore., so you can imagine our surprise when new full-length “Spacemaker” arrived in the mailbox, practically out of the blue, in all its hand-assembled packaging glory (a slipcase made from sections of a PBR box and a track listing typed out on a pack of Marlboro lights, to be specific). A forehead-slapper of a novelty? Yeah, but burrow past the kitschy presentation and what you find is an album simultaneously more mature, expansive, and streamlined than its predecessor.
For the most part, the band has ditched the indulgent, fret-leaping riffs that occasionally sprang up on “Distance is Oval;” now they’re playing as a team. Tracks like “Can You Hear the Jets?” and “1000% Sure” simply drip minor-key grooves and cinematic foreboding, while the cosmic blunt force trauma of “That’s the Problem with Owning Half the State of California” morphs by the final minute into an outro that brings both the punk and the funk in equal dosages.
Do they still sound kinda like Muse? Sure, but you get famous by being familiar, and Microtia know that. You make your name, however, by doing it better. Boys, consider yourselves made.