Untied by design 

All seriousness and sacrilege aside, when Untied States' guitarist Skip Engelbrecht explains his last name means "vomit angel" in German, the awkwardness generated is representative of his group's precarious sonic palette.

Since 2002, Engelbrecht and bassist Collin Arnstein have crafted a labyrinth of peculiar pop and prog-rock arrangements by way of traditional sonic values and machine-heavy textures. With a lumbering Sonic Youth-meets-Eric Satie-meets-Syd Barrett approach to discipline and experimentation, the group's second offering, Ineffable By Design, forges a disquieting sound.

"We stick to classical values, as far as choosing good notes, but we like to combat them with very ugly sounding stuff," says Arnstein of the group's balance of equal and opposite extremes. "We called the CD Ineffable By Design because we can try to explain what we do, but we don't ever reach any greater truth."

To facilitate the new material live, Engelbrecht and Arnstein have expanded the group to a five-piece, adding drummer Jim Earley, bassist Andy Jones (Centre.) and Lindell Todd on guitar, percussion and samples. "Your ideas get bigger when you have more people playing the music," says Engelbrecht.

In addition to the lineup changes, the group was approached with a production offer by Shimmy-Disc label owner and neo-psychedeliac [Mark] Kramer, culminating in Ineffable's closer, "This Poem," which signifies the possibility a heavenly font of ideas could spew forth. "It will be interesting to see what happens," says Engelbrecht. "Collin and I have never had anyone to bounce ideas [off] before."

Untied States plays the Earl Fri., July 23, 9:30 p.m. $6.



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