If you are what you eat, perhaps Tautologic is what they call its songs. The title of Tautologic's debut album, West is North, East is South, pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to describing the band's musical aims. The group takes two extremes, in this case straight up rock/pop and classical music to show that the 180 degree opposite is actually what materializes.
The band's deviation from the norm is accomplished by melding rock and classical music through the addition of a string section. Unlike other rock albums that dabble with strings, the additional instruments aren't truly additional. They're necessary, rather than thrown in as "sweeteners" to add a little extra something. The result is what Chicago Weekly News describes as "somewhere between Shakespearean poetry and punk rock." And that's a fairly valid label. Tautologic's sound is mellow, orchestral pop, almost Celtic like. It's a roaring fire and two glasses of wine type sound, though not limited to such intimacies. Tautologic can hold their own with Chicago's best, as evident at their album debut at Elbo Room in June.
Tautologic does try to deviate from some parts of the scene, however. Frustrated with contemporary rock's lyrics which seem to espouse a vague universality (and an angsty one at that), the band relies on their own stories and those of their Chicago friends and aquantinces to comprise their lyrics. Song topics range from the light to the socially minded, including stories about a roommate∆s beer recipes, CTA karma and frustration with South Side racial issues.
But who is the band behind the stories? Co-founders and songwriters Ethan Sellers (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Pat Buzby (drums) are joined by guitarist Aaron Weistrop, bassist Nathan Britsch, violinist Jeff Yang.
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