Music seen: Christopher Teret + Huak

Christopher Teret at SPACE Gallery and Huak at Empire Dine and Dance, March 20
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 25, 2009

Chris Teret's singing is just as unassuming as his songwriting. When he sings, his mouth hardly opens; instead, the edges of his lips spread back into his cheeks, and his dry, mundane delivery takes on a graceful lilt. Its variations are subtle but effortlessly expressive, and they suit his efficient, eloquent narratives to a "T."

Playing an electric guitar and accompanied by two visiting members of his band Company (the four-piece are scattered between Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City), Teret largely stuck to songs from an upcoming Company album. While the songs aren't fully fully fleshed out yet, the band's sound (highlighted by Teret's shimmery strumming) is the best outlet for Teret's laments and old-time travelogues. His lyrics toe a line between bland simplicity and quiet profundity, but the nuanced emotion of his plainspoken phrasing — like the "even" in "Baby, I'm an island in the sea/No one there to even look at me" — ensures that they invariably tilt towards the latter.

Nearby at the Empire, the ever-tightening indie-rock four-piece Huak continued to mine the nearly-forgotten charms of mid-'90s emo (Tallest Frontman in Portland Jake Lowry teeters between sentimental verses and chaotic, cathartic choruses), filtering them through the brutal, jagged structures and dense guitar squall of early post-punk. The band, in their abruptly shifting movements and time signatures, still have a bit of an itchy trigger finger, but (perhaps with the addition of Rattlesnakes drummer Mike Cunnane) their aim's getting exhilaratingly precise. If their opening slot for Mission of Burma weren't proof enough, Huak have quickly entered the upper echelon of the local indie scene.

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