North East Indie Rec.Cerberus Shoal : Chaiming the knoblessone (US,2003)***°°
Finally, the long awaited full album release by this talented 6 piece group !
The style of the first couple of tracks are continuations, in a full conceptual form, of the kind of expression that what was already strong on "The vim and vigour..".
"Apartrides", with soaring soaky roaring bubbling up female vocals creates the temple where it happens. The band improvises on top of it and directs it into another earthly existence, knob-to-knob, knocking at new-doors-rock, experimental, and yet with feet close to the ground, glowing as a theatrical experience. The vocals are descriptive, with texts and sounds, and increase the tensions. It's not otherworldly, but "new"worldly, with a still recognisable instrumentation, lead mostly by the mood's contents, at first more story painting, then like a vivid circus.
"Mr. Shakespeare Torso", bubbles with echoing female vocals and some percussion in the distance speaking about circus, and the listeners as visitors- leaves no kid, without a ticket for the ride, alone without experience. Madly figures are making its own musical rhythm and quickly hurry to the next stage. From every point of view this is a theatrical experience. This continues with some "child-entertaining" acoustic guitar on "Sole of Foot of Man", with a smooth female duo at the background. Harmonium and percussion, and slide ? guitar finishes off the sound. A song concludes, with the full band sound's contribution and with nice harmonies in sounds, vocals, ideas, with a perfectly closing-of-the-fairytale end.
These first three tracks were seen and expressed as a whole, counting more than 30 minutes together, and really work as a small theatre piece documentary.(*****)
"Paranoid Home Companion" (Intermission) is another movie like track, that sounds like a surreal futuristic interrogation of an escaped telephonevoice. As far as I understand it, philosophically, in the dialogue, the logic being used in the interrogation as well as the questioning itself is thrown back to the interrogator, and the concept of the interrogation is pulled upside down by it.
Last three tracks are supposed to be taken together too, starting with "Ouch : Sinti, Roma, Zigeuner, The Names of Gypsy". As if every new note hurts, the vocals sing "ouch" with every chord struck. The beginning of another surreal song, and original magical magician's gambling game of bewitchment with words. Such song oriented expressions still full of fantasy reminds me of David Thomas and Pere Ubu. Near the end the band becomes psychedelic, through its distorted effects and rhythm patterns. The narration and structure of the song on "Story #12 from the Invisible Mountain Archives" reminds me even more of David Thomas. The poem/ story itself directs mostly all of the musical explorations. Last track, "Scaly Beast vs. Toy Piano", starts with a distorted mixed voice, toy piano, harmonium & wooden block ? melody and some background narrative and later foreground singing and a distorted speaker's voice, sung as by performers of a puppet-like play. All expressed as a musical box with the size of a room.
Another fantastic album by this expressive band. I wish I could see one day a kind of theatrical piece based upon or combined with their music.