Personnel: Julia Blair (vocals, violin, viola, cello); Zacc Baehman, Ryley Crowe, Matt Stranger (vocals, bells); Paul Mirenda, Arielle Smith (vocals); Alex Wilson, Colin Wilde (bells).
Audio Mixers: Justin Perkins ; Amos Pitsch.
Recording information: BFG, Appleton, WI; Bobby Peru Recording, Milwaukee, WI; The Midwest Sound, Rockford, IL.
Photographers: Tenement; Matt Stranger.
Arranger: Amos Pitsch.
Tenement are a band from the wilds of Appleton, Wisconsin who have a talent for sharp, hooky punk tunes with a garagey accent and strong melodies. After making a pair of fine albums (Napalm Dream and The Blind Wink, both released in 2011), Tenement took their time with their third effort, and they clearly wanted to make something more than just another pop-punk album. And there's no arguing Tenement have delivered something out of the ordinary with 2015's Predatory Headlights. The band's songcraft is impressive, the performances are tough but tight and proudly heartfelt, and the tunes are diverse enough to keep this music from sinking into the cookie-cutter hegemony of lazier punk bands, moving past the ordinary power trio format to include sweet harmonies, acoustic guitars, keyboards, strings, and creative tape manipulation. While Tenement are maturing into an outstanding rock & roll band, their ambitions still stretch beyond that, and Predatory Headlights is punctuated by several experimental pieces (often nameless) built from distressed string charts, masses of percussion, and not-quite-in-tune pianos. If the less melodic tracks are a matter of taste, what's good here is accessible and often excellent, especially the fierce, no-nonsense rock of "Dull Joy" and "The Butcher," the bluesy swagger of "Whispering Kids," the Stones-flavored "You Keep Me Cool" and "Hive of Hives," the spare acoustic menace of "Licking a Wound," the near-hardcore blast of "Near You," and the stylish pop of "Why Are We Where We Are." Predatory Headlights is a fascinating, thoughtful album that confirms Tenement are a band with very genuine promise. ~ Mark Deming