March 26, 2006

SXSW Report #18: Rahim @ Soho Lounge

The first showcase I saw on Thursday evening was Rahim’s set at the Soho Lounge. A friend turned me on to this Brooklyn trio last summer when they released their debut EP Jungles. Jungles was an above-average slice of minimal, tuneful and vaguely danceable post-punk. However, I knew that I would have to hear an album’s worth of their material to decide whether they were truly something special, or just another notch on the Frenchkiss label’s belt. After the set they played this evening, I’m leaning toward the former.

Most of the material they played came from their upcoming full-length Ideal Lives. To be honest, both their album and their live show reminded me of Q and Not U circa Different Damage — when they were still getting used to the absence of their bassist, before they put a bit more funk in their music. However, the guys in Rahim are better singers, and they know a bit more about the power of a catchy chorus than Q and Not U did. Rahim’s bassist only played when it was absolutely necessary to, often switching to keyboard and auxiliary percussion depending on the needs of the song. The singer played single-string guitar riffs that sketched the barest outline of a chord progression. The drummer held his end up nicely with playing that was creative, but not flashy. I think my favorite songs of their set were the anthem-like “10,000 Horses” and “Forever Love,” which wasn’t as corny as its title would imply.

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