“Tightrope” by the Microcosms

Quarantine or not, scrolling the news at any point starting in 2016 has been a juggernaut. Regardless of one’s political views, it’s evident that the government has been on a collision course of opposing views of epic proportions since a certain character took office. Chicago band Microcosms take on the rawness of gaslighting and shift the focus to their own brand of indie-rock-punk in the rowdy “Tightrope”. These Chicago rockers are prime time ready to stage the next musical takeover.

Making up Microcosms are Andrew Tschiltsch (guitar, vocals), Bryan Emer (bass) and Jered Piepenbrink (drums). Proving once again that the power of three is worthy of such a sonic wall, and following in the footsteps of such punk gods as Green Day and Nirvana, Microcosms collectively transform the musical landscape with the brash and jarring “Tightrope”.


One of the first sounds that catapults the listener into a pool of crushing riffs and spasmatic lyrics is the bass guitar. Bad ass starting the song like this. Tschilstsch’s vocals are charismatic and frenzied at the same time: I wanna do my part, but I’m doomed from the start is one of the more stirring lines. It’s not that the others in this audacious song do not stand out as much, it’s the overall vibe of the song that just zeroes into that particular line. Feeling defeated is not an option for many – in the political climate or relationship scenario. What this song represented most (to me) is that this crazed, chaotic world we live in begs for some semblance of normalcy and judging by the guitar riffs in “Tightrope” we’re just not there yet.


I also dug the line “that’s why I’m always struggling.” Tschilstsch sings more in the vain of Billy Armstrong than Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir (“all I wanted was a Pepsi!”). What Tschilstch does remarkable do on his own is hold this song by its balls and never lets go. The audience knows he’s in complete control.

The guitar work in “Tightrope” is clanging like a garage band but focused enough to issue a card-carrying member of virtuosity. It’s the sound of craziness and the electrical pulsating from what I can only imagine the early psychiatric doctors witnessed during a lobotomy or electrical shock on a patient. It’s a thrill and it’s also stealthy proficient in rock and roll annals. It’s decadently raw.


Equally memorable are the percussion shapes. The drums in “Tightrope” don’t soak up all the spotlight, but like in all great punk-rock tunes, they set the tone. As crazed as the guitar riffs rip into the earholes, the drums (and bass) bury the hatchet with force and fierceness. What a tight sound. But, man, that guitar work just streams and screams along in this song that it’s extremely difficult to not play air guitar in the comfort of your own home (which is what we’re all supposed to be doing).

There’s nothing to tread lightly here – “Tightrope” is a stable song that earns all the accolades headed in its direction.

Anne Hollister

Written by Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.



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