The ideal length for a pop song is somewhere in the neighborhood of three minutes. Why? Well, it’s complicated. (Wired looks at the reasons behind the standard here.) And while extremely short or extremely long songs are certainly no strangers to the music world, it’s still notable to encounter, say, a 17-minute song/video in the wild. Enter Milwaukee’s The Directionals, whose newest creation, the Doctor Who-referencing “Vashta Nerada,” is just that.
The Directionals are the brainchild of Milwaukee’s Mark Poe, who formed the band and laid the foundation for its hybrid prog/surf/punk sound in 2011. The group’s debut full-length, Shapes And Colors, was released in 2013, and was followed by Omni in 2014. A handful of EPs and singles also dot The Directionals’ discography, including the aforementioned “Vashta Nerada.” That song was written and composed over the course of a year, and was eventually recorded live (in a “haunted studio,” per a press release) in October 2016. Joining Poe on the track are bassist Chris Liska and drummer Bob Schaab.
“Vashta Nerada” is wild and wooly, full of math-y changes, unexpected detours (shit gets heavy around the 15-minute mark), and vocals that don’t show up until five minutes in. It’s also a lot of fun, and quite possibly the best 17 minutes you’ll spend all day.
The Directionals play tonight at Bremen Cafe with Jesse W. Johnson, Brave You, and The Peekaboos.