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Absolute Future Find Balance With Certain Sway

The Portland foursome slide between genres on their compelling debut album.

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Absolute Future blaze their own sonic trail with their moody and entrancing debut album Certain Sway — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

Stylishly delivering rich textures and melodies with tightly restrained power and propulsion, the 10-track outing finds the Portland, Oregon foursome expanding beyond their previous work in punk and hardcore with psychedelic swells and synth-driven leads. With elements of dreamy guitar pop laid against grinding, grooving rhythms, Certain Sway capably and confidently crafts a sonic landscape that’s not quite post-rock and not quite alt-rock, but falls somewhere in a middle lane that’s both niche and accessible.

Absolute Future — formed by brothers Jonny and Alex Janis, Andy Bunch on drums and Shawn Sierotowicz on guitar — clearly draw heavily from ’90s influences like Swervedriver, Failure and Red House Painters. So it only makes sense that veteran producer Billy Anderson (Red House Painters, Sleep, Swans) was behind the board on Certain Sway.

“Our influences were especially varied for this release,” the band say in a press release. “Everything from modern shoegaze-punk crossover like Nothing and Cloakroom, to classics like Pink Floyd and Steely Dan. We’ve made a concerted effort to find music that our peers aren’t listening to. There are current bands doing exciting things but if everyone is drawing influence from the trendiest releases, it leads to everything sounding like a copy of a copy. If you listen to the acts that influenced the bands you look up to, you’ll probably produce far better songs as a result.

Photo by Jordan Rousseau.

“And there is definitely a big influence from Billy Anderson … He’s big on making each record sound distinct. He gave a more ’90s sound to the tracks. Not intentionally, but his decades of recording experience shine through with the somewhat ‘aged’ tone of the album.”

Another word that would work just as well: Timeless. Opener Often Sleight has a very conceptually intricate groove sound, with a chunky kick drum and bass propelling angelic gliding guitar riffs. It invites you into an atmosphere that’s familiar to the shoegaze genre but takes sonic risks. Highway and the title showcase more typical dream-pop vibes but with more upbeat and rhythmic vocals at times. The result is a disc that slips between genres and defies pigeonholing.

“We find it hard to precisely describe our music,” the band say. “In the current state of music, we consider our elusiveness a strength.”

Listen to Certain Sway below, and follow Absolute Future on Twitter and Instagram.