Droid rage

Christopher Mathews-Smith, keyboardist/composer for Droid Android, knew he was on the right track after the band's first-ever show earlier this year, at the Hangnail Gallery in Augusta.

"After our set, the guy there said, 'You guys were great!" Mathews-Smith recalls. "'But next time, man, we're gonna turn you way down!'"

There's no getting around it: Mathews-Smith is loud, partly of necessity — the trio is comprised entirely of keyboards, drums and vocals — and partly because that's just the way he likes it. "I can't play with a guitarist," he says matter-of-factly. "There's too much clash."

And there's just the right amount of clash in Droid Android's songs as is. Jon Catron's rock drums provide the shore against which Mathews-Smith's aggressive synth-runs crash — both hands manically conjuring fuzzy contrapuntal lines on "Cereal," or gradually ratcheting up the tension on "Goodbye Mr. Dowell." Above it all, vocalist Millie Linville adds accessible new-wave melodies and indie-rock lyrics about Internet dating, relationships and breakfast food.

It's that contrast that gives Droid Android its beating heart — er, engine. "You know old New Orleans jazz, where it's collective improv — they're playing in tune together, but they're all doing different things?" Mathews-Smith asks. "That's a definite guideline. We decided a long time ago that if we tried to follow each other, it'd be a disaster."I want some noise," he admits. "But when you get down to it, I want people to remember the songs, rather than having an abstract idea of the songs. That's veering into pop music a little bit, but pop music in its purest form isn't entirely a bad thing."

Droid Android plays the EARL with the Love Drunks and the Rolling Sixties Thurs., Sept. 9, 9:30 p.m. (doors). $5.