The Preakness finds its groove 

Things fall into place for jangle-pop trio

With bands, as with lovers, the best indication of compatibility is the ease of the union. After years of fruitless courtships, things just fell into place, according to the Preakness' bassist Tracy Clark.

"The time leading up to us getting together was really slow going," Clark says. "We were in different parts of our lives. But when we met it must've been the perfect time, because once we got together it was great."

It began when Clark found some lo-fi recordings singer/guitarist Brandon Arnold had posted on MySpace, and offered her services if he needed added instrumentation or vocals. Arnold, feeling it fortuitous that she contacted him, called up a drummer he knew, Tim Genius, thereby giving birth to this jangle-pop trio.

Arnold's approach to music reflects the same blithe, go-with-the-flow attitude. "I like to approach it as a natural evolution and let things come together as they're supposed to without thinking too hard about every little detail," he says. "The songs evolve into what they should by us letting them."

Indeed, there is a casual grace to Arnold's sleepy vocals and ringing guitar tones, pulled together by a rubbery rhythm section reminiscent of Pylon. Songs such as "Demons," which opens their debut 7-inch, gently build to explosive bridges before receding into the distance. "What They're Saying" crosses Small Factory and Wedding Present, while "I Thought I Was in Control" boasts the tight focus of Lou Barlow's home recordings, doused in warm guitar jangle.

Working with Liverhearts' drummer Matt Glagola, the four-song single came together quickly. They'd gone in to simply set up the drums for the next morning, but left with the basic rhythm tracks done, finishing the entire recording in just a few days.

"There are mistakes in there, and some roughness," Clark says, "but I think that's just as beautiful as any part of the songs."

The Preakness w/ the Close, the Liverhearts and Eerie Choir. $7. 9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 16. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950.

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