Excluding that rare couple that walks up the aisle to Throbbing Gristle or makes out to Meet the Residents, Crevice is most decidedly not for lovers. The long-running SA act’s blend of minimalist white-noise drone and synthesized psych-rock horror-movie soundtracking (or at least the version on display Valentine’s evening) seems designed to exhaust the senses through dull and repetitive blunt force, causing awareness to withdraw and turn introspective. Better suited to peyote-induced ego death than chocolate martinis and prolonged eye contact, the seamless, banter-less one-hour, 45-minute set moves hypnotically through lengthy ambient valleys marred by passages of impenetrable distortion, sporadically peaking all too briefly in old-fashioned freak outs.
Inside the workshop in front of Fl!ght Gallery, where Crevice have their equipment set up on TV trays and circa-1970s office furniture, the music makes for a heady, weirdly industrial V-Day for the few listeners who sit and watch intently. Many more just pass through, occasionally engaged in audible conversations and often giving the band only a puzzled glance before continuing on to view the shows inside the galleries or buy tacos in the parking lot.
The guys in Crevice don’t seem to notice. They perform with the faraway gaze and perfunctory energy of cubicle workers, and feed their instruments through so many effects and distortions, the synths and keyboards are nearly indistinguishable from the guitars and even the occasional low-mixed vocal embellishments. At its best, the single-purposed homogeny is compelling in its own way, but the moments it builds to are too often anticlimactic — an airy wooden flute pushing an unwelcome New Age bent, or a synthesized-drum solo fast-forwarding the sound into the 1980s, reminding the listener how great Crevice might sound with an actual live drummer and, worse, occasionally over-indulging until it feels suspiciously like a kid playing with the keyboard settings in a music store. Predictably, the set ends with an intense noise pile up cut short just before climax. A psychedelic light show and an emphasis on fuzzed-out guitars over electronic effects would’ve made the show even more predictable, perhaps, but much more essential. Freak-out etiquette discourages driving a listener into his own headspace without giving him something more interesting to meditate on than uncut framing materials and electronically produced cowbell riffs.