This is my kind of jam. Italian indie rock group Altre di B are a very unique group, and their latest release, Miranda!, tackles a similarly unique and peculiar topic. Written as a tribute to the homonym book written by Quirico Filopanti in 1858, which introduced the first theorqy of time zones, the band decided to create an album all about geography, cultural anthropology, maps, and airports. It’s a record for those wanderlust-y souls who love to travel. It’s a very deep and interesting concept, and it plays out quite well throughout the record, which tackles different sounds and styles throughout its ten songs.
I said this is my jam because the topic is esoteric and a bit nerdy, but Miranda! is nothing if not a damn good time. Altre di B’s sound is both familiar and difficult to place, as they sound like a punk band playing early 2010s indie rock, with a strong progressive and R&B edge, think Mutemath, Tokyo Police Club, TV On The Radio, and Alt-J, to name a few. Pulsing and driving bass lines are the name of the game here, notably on highlight tracks “Pungi”, “Salgado” and “LAX”, just to name a few. It’s mighty impressive how the band builds on their sound on each track, making almost every one distinct based on the song’s location and/or meaning. Occasionally, it doesn’t work quite as well (“Poilao” and “Erevan” for example), and the band do have a tendency to over-repeat lines to a grating point. It works when the hooks are memorable, but it puts a bright yellow highlighter on the weaker points.
Ultimately, Miranda! is a fascinating experiment that mostly works, resulting in a unique form of indie rock that’s hooky, fun, and fresh. Altre di B are a new name to me, but based on the strength of their latest, I think Americans need to tune into what these Italians have to offer.