Home News Tribune, 3/5/04

Skyline Rodeo celebrates the unspoken word

Pulse Writer

The instrumental song used to rule the charts.

The Ventures, Duane Eddy, and even Herb Albert used to roll out the instrumental hits in the 1960s. But in recent years, the instrumental has become muted.

That doesn't stop New Brunswick's alt-rock band Skyline Rodeo from dabbling in the genre.

"It's a nice way of expressing yourself without overtly expressing yourself," says Skyline Rodeo guitarist Steve Bumgarner of Somerset.

On the band's tuneful and explorative self-titled EP, there is a seven-minute plus instrumental called "Primer Premiere" that melodically ebbs, flows and rocks.

"We're not a band who does three-minute pop songs," Bumgarner said. "We stretch out the instrumental parts and extend the bridges.

"We experiment more."

They do, but not enough to try the patience of a listener. The band -- whose members used to make up the Hub City bands Dewey Defeated and Slow Wire -- reminds one of a cross between Television and the Archers of Loaf, with the songs being flushed out a bit more. Bumgarner sees the inspiration coming from elsewhere.

"Personally, I think we have more in common with the Dischord (Records) bands, and also Britain Shoegazers like Swervedriver and all those bands. They had a had a focus on more complex instrumental passages."

Shoegazers? Does that mean that the band -- also Joe Dingerdissen, Mike Alfano and Morgan Chen -- are going to be staring at their shoes tomorrow night at their Maxwell's gig in Hoboken?

"We have pretty good stage show, but we're not the most electrifying band," Bumgarner said. "We've gotten better at it -- it's like controlled energy."

Visit for more info.

Skyline Rodeo, Clever Hans, Hero Pattern and Dibs, 10 p.m. tomorrow, Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken. (201) 653-1703 or

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