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It’s morning in Detroit: Organic cafes are sprouting up where liquor stores once dominated the landscape, cycle lanes now line even the most impassable roadways, and an army of aimless (white) youth, the shock troops of gentrification, are living out their wild west fantasies in maximum comfort and self-satisfaction. The names of their wifi networks tell the story: “homesteader,” “eastside settler,” “landgrabba.” They come for a reason: a cheap practice space in other people’s misery.
True to their contrarian instincts, Tyvek won’t give any quarter to the well heeled (and no doubt well intentioned) drum circle that has invaded their hometown, but they also can’t help but feel a certain optimism. Their third album, On Triple Beams, picks up where the blistering proto-hardcore of the Nothing Fits record leaves off, but doesn’t tarry long in familiar zones. The melodies open up into a much more spacious musical headspace, channeling unexpected positivity on tracks like “Wayne County Roads,” “Say Yeah” and “Returns.” Produced by Fred Thomas, On Triple Beams is hard and direct but it doesn’t pummel. Likewise, the lyrics ain’t pedantic. Searing punk rock is still the order of the day, and the tunes are just bangin’. And in case there’s any doubt: these are tunes in a major way—the songwriting chops are on this album are completely out of place in the 2012 bumper crop of plastic platters.
Welcome to the strange path that Tyvek has trod for the past eight years: for every step forward, they take two steps to the side for good measure. This trip won’t be spoiled by the crass opportunism of the Nu-Detroiters: they have to keep it real. Sometimes the new jacks just gotta get put in check, and obviously Mommy and Daddy weren’t ever going to do it. In the midst of so much change, Tyvek is energized by the chaos of a city in flux, the crucial moments that make up everyday life, and the unfiltered reality of sensory experiences. Hear the sound and jump all around.