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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

May 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Tera Melos’ math rock not by numbers | Concert preview

Tera Melos

Tera Melos plays Seattle Saturday. Photo by Ron Harrel.

When instrumental groups decide to start singing, it can be risky — especially for those with a penchant for technical, nonlinear songcraft.

Indeed, for Tera Melos, headlining The Crocodile Saturday, it was initially an uneasy marriage.

The Sacramento band’s back-to-back 2007 EPs “Drugs/Complex” were auditory ADD, the vocals cluttering up material that was busy and dense enough on its own.

2009’s “Idioms, Vol. I,” however — an all-covers seven-inch featuring amped-up renditions of songs by The Beach Boys, The Clash, Pixies and others — wisely recast singer-guitarist-keyboardist Nick Reinhart, bassist Nathan Latona and drummer John Clardy as math magicians with pop ambitions.

Since then, they’ve successfully applied this melody-oriented approach to originals like “Sunburn,” below, off last year’s “X’ed Out.” At once catchy and complicated, the LP, their third, cements their status as stewards of a nascent West Coast math rock movement — of which local openers Postmadonna are proud members.

In a genre often maligned for prioritizing chops over personality, Tera Melos are neither showoffs nor ciphers — proof that difficult-to-play music doesn’t have to be difficult to listen to.

8 p.m. Saturday at The Crocodile, 2200 2nd Ave., Seattle; $10 (206-441-4618 or thecrocodile.com)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: experimental, progressive, The Crocodile

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