More than anything, Some of Them Are Old explore the intricacies of pure sound and the struggle to articulate it. The collective owes as much to classical composers John Cage and La Monte Young as it does to any rock tradition.
On their latest album, Little Boys, Some of Them Are Old are a bit more song-oriented than on previous efforts. When they play semiconventional rock music, the tracks are uniformly excellent, with distinctive singing from Lex Elias. The almost 10-minute "Kind" feels a third as long, and the fantastic opener, "Heaven," is almost pop.
Still, Little Boys stresses ambiguity over bold statements, with each of the sextet floating in and out of the panorama without any contributor claiming top billing. Some of Them Are Old create a euphoric womb of warmth and pleasure, even when logic points to psychological disarray. But derangement and inner chaos feel like bliss on this record because violence is mutated into shimmering translucence, existing as an entity unto itself because no instrument dominates.
With absurdist song titles like "Short Man McGee," and high-art concepts, the album could be misconstrued as too highbrow to be accessible. It's not. The centerpiece, "City Streets Brain Damage," may go for 16 minutes, but it's compelling enough for 16 songs.
Little Boys lingers far longer than its 50-minute running time. The music never begins or ends; rather, it's a document of the fleeting moment in the middle.