Lay of the Cid

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When this EP from Lay of the Cid arrived on the doorstep of Metro Times towers, there was little to suggest the delights that lay within. We were, in fact, suitably underwhelmed, at first. The band members are spread between Grand Rapids and Waterford ... and the cover art looks like a 5-year-old was let loose on Windows Paint. Then there's that band name. What exactly is the Cid and why does it lie in the manner that it does? So far, so blah. But then we played the damned thing.

The impact of the EP is immediate; first song "Jack of all Tirades" sounds like Richard Hell trapped in a studio with Frank Zappa, desperate to get out and hurrying through the recording process for all he's worth. Vocalist/bassist Zach Guy has a gloriously psychotic voice, a fact that carries Lay of the Cid out of the typical. The band also has the ability to completely abandon conventional musical structure at will yet manage to never sound self-indulgent or ridiculous.

Next up is the wonderfully titled "Don't Cry for Me Bosnia and Herzegovina," a song that, like its predecessor, attacks at full pace from the start but then slows to a crawl for the remainder. Guitarist Mike Lomerson and drummer Nick Swanson are masters of their instruments and they are blessed with the confidence — in themselves as well as each other — to change gears seemingly at will. "Summer Nights on the South Side" is a good example, perhaps the most accessible song on the record. "Don't let your babies grow up to be junkies," croons Guy, as the band switches from high-speed post-punk to reggae in the blink of an eye.

One can only begin to imagine just how great this band is live. It'd be nice to believe that their dynamics are spontaneous. But it's probably closer to the truth to assume that they rehearse themselves to death. Either way, catch them at a venue near you soon.

Lay of the Cid plays Friday, March 6, at the Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333. With Of Mice and Musicians, Elliot Street Lunatic and Sharky and the Habit; $5 cover.

Lay of the Cid plays Friday, March 6, at the Pike Room, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-858-9333. With Of Mice and Musicians, Elliot Street Lunatic and Sharky and the Habit; $5 cover.

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