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“Boomtown beat with political guitars” is songwriter/guitarist Hidde Hanenburg’s label for the post-modern music of Pointed Sticks. The bands material touches on a variety of styles; the twangy “Stories”, the Midnight Oil influenced “180 Degrees”, the folk downer “Shawna Grant”. You can hear references to The Church, Big Country and Wall of Voodoo however these guys are not trying to mimic their favorite bands. They take their influences and skewer them, shish-ke-bob style, into their own identifiable sound. In the Sticks best songs you might hear ringing guitar chords ala the Police, a tambourine beat straight from U2 and a Duane Eddy guitar melody support lyrics about World War I field hospitals.
The Pointed Sticks “boomtown” is Bryceson and bassist Bob Rice, who kick the music along with a sense of dynamics which is refreshingly unlike the static feel of some rhythm duos. The beat is loose and precise at the same time, and Bryceson and Rice can lock it down tight when they want to.
Dan Velasquez shares the “political guitar” duties with Hanenburg. Velasquez was trained as a classical guitarist, and regularly plays upright bass in local symphonies and jazz groups. On stage with Pointed Sticks he throttles a ferocious noise guitar solo on their shredded version of “If I Only Had A Brain”, the Sticks only cover tune. Both guitarists favor a cleaner tone and a more textural approach including prevalent use of amplified acoustic guitars.
Hanenburg likes to use the term “throat culture vocals” in regards to his singing. Reminiscent of Bob Geldof or Mick Jones (The Clash), the vocals are stark and gloomy, delivered with intensity. He’s sincere, but don’t ask him to sing at your wedding.
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