With billowy clouds of synths building into thundering rampages of driving drums and guitars, quiet musings abruptly shifting into soaring sonic flights of fancy topped off by Dan Nigro's cascading vocals, plus the odd ethereal chorus and boho jazz trumpet accent, As Tall As Lions' sound is as eclectic as it is ambitious. The Long Island quartet's intensely textured drift, complete with multiple time signatures in many songs and frequent changes in mood(iness), owes a substantial debt to the progressive-rock era. ATAL's third album, last August's You Can't Take It With You, roams from quirky, earthy ambience to sparkling, stratospheric pop pastiches, while Nigro, somewhat skeptically, muses about finding meaning in life. A boozy, R&B vibe surfaces on one tune, "We's Be Waitin'," but Nigro undercuts its effectiveness by ludicrously singing through a megaphone. Opening is the Cincinnati duo Bad Veins, an indie-pop outfit with an improbably big sound thanks to a vintage reel-to-reel dubbed Irene. Singer-guitarist-keyboardist Benjamin Davis writes bristly tunes with sometimes grandiose hooks, his yearning vocals grappling with Irene's looming orchestrations, while Sebastien Schultz brings it back to earth with his gritty drumming. 18+.
Wed., April 7, 7 p.m., 2010