Walking a slick line between rock and punk, Microcosms shout it from the megaphone in “Tightrope”. The Chicago rock trio deliver a punch-to-the-gut with this gaslight-themed track. Brazen with a raucous guitar riff, killer bass line funk and all-out-assault on drums, “Tightrope” channels the chaos and madness that is 2020. During this time of quarantine and even depression, it’s nice to hear a song that speaks to the masses and throws out to the wind the idea that it’s okay to be not okay.
Politically charged or even relationship inspired, the idea that someone is driving the protagonist to this song mad is felt in the music bed and the lyrics. The song starts with a throbbing bass line, reaching deep within the bowels of the listener’s gut. It hits that pit in your stomach. Enter the guitars. It’s a quick riff, doh-doh-doh the movement goes. The sound is like clanging and racing lightning bolts exploding in the brain. Clinging to the guitar and the pest of a percussion, “Tightrope” seizes itself into the listener’s blood stream after conquering the gut. It’s a tense energy with a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. With lyrics like “I wanna do my part, but I’m doomed from the start” holds true to the idea that you’re either damned if you do, or damned if you don’t. You can’t win with some people.
Vocally, I loved the mic effect of it sounding like a megaphone. While listening, I also pictured singer above a crowd of people, like at a rally of sorts or even the Berlin Wall. The song is controlled anarchy. Arms are raised and the sea of people below the band give a wave of energy—all that is felt in just one listen. The Microcosms have an anthem on their hands, er, fists.
The lyrics come quick and forceful. The line “that’s why I’m always struggling” is a commonality for any listener. Whether you’re struggling in a relationship, hurting from isolation, or even being mentally abused, this song branches out into several deeper meanings. Still, it maintains a fierce delivery and overall swift tone. Rather than drift in the mire that is confusion and political angst. The Microcosms shift the conversation to a strong rock guitar and plenty of pulsating rhythms in their own corner. “Tightrope” has a unique way of speaking to the mind and the soul with its anthemic message and blistering riffs.
Microcosms are Andrew Tschiltsch (guitar, vocals), Bryan Emer (bass) and Jered Piepenbrink (drums). The band released the two-track EP, Someone You Know in 2019, Fairytale in 2018 and in 2017 their debut EP, Know My Body. Through it all, The Microcosms have continued to churn out solid, tight-sounding tracks. While there’s only three players in the band, the energy is ecstatic and heightened. It’s quite the full sound. Fans of Gang of Four, Green Day and more will dig The Microcosms sound. Like the Windy City they call home, The Microcosms are a force to be reckoned with.