Wednesday, February 17, 2016

REVIEW - THE CROATOAN - ALWAYS DREAMING - CD

THE CROATOAN - ALWAYS DREAMING - CD
LOVE EARTH MUSIC/LEM159
NOISE ROCK/GARAGE ROCK/GRUNGE/LO-FI NOISE
COMES IN A JEWEL CASE WITH INSERT.
THE CROATOAN IS:
STAN W.
KDG
TRACY C.
VIRGIL R-1


I.) 3,OOO:
This is kind of a weird album and one that is a little hard
to categorize within a single genre. THE CROATOAN play fuzzy,
Sludgy and lo-fi Garage Rock with elements of Harsh/Experimental
Noise. Miserable slow jams and harsh experimentation are blended
with distorted dirges and muffled vocals over very minimal drum 
programming that sounds like the standard stock loops and patterns
of an old Casio keyboard. Always Dreaming begins with "3,000" where
we go into basic computer drums that lead into muffled synths through
blown out distortion. Vocals are clean and almost spoken but are very
buried in the mix. Clean guitars offer a melancholic melody that is
pretty nice with a 90's Grunge type of vibe to them. Distorted currents
of synth bass flow beneath aimlessly and add a droning element to the
track. Overall it's pretty straight forward and basic. The drums tend
to annoy me for some reason...Possibly because they sound so effortless
and don't really change at all, But this may appeal to some of you.

II.) DON'T DIE:
"Don't Die" follows in a similar formula. Basic electronic percussive
kits are employed in mid-tempo loop. Low, Rumbling Harsh Noise is laid
over top followed by fuzzy Grunge guitars that are a bit more up-beat
this time, Although I still wouldn't say it sounds happy overall. It's
a pretty straightforward jam session for a while until the drums cut
out and the riffs become doom drones. The vocals here are louder and
distorted. They have a darkly sarcastic quality to them and sort of
remind me of RECTAL HYGIENICS in a strange way. Raspy whispers and
lazy moans over slow riffs and crunching static textures. Pretty 
cool stuff. Reminds me of a band I used to play in during my High
School days. A little more thought out at times, But it has that
sort of spirit to it.

III.) DESTROYED:
Again we start with painfully basic drum patterns, Obscured riffs
and low drones that yawn out endlessly. This time there are additional
percussive patterns that sound like someone banging on a cardboard box
with their bare hands or something like that. However it was made...It
was recorded and sped up (Or at least that's how it sounds) The vocals
come under deep distortion and are sung in a moody tone. Downer rock
for rainy days like today. Power Electronics style experimentation
starts and forms sawing, Buzzing patterns as what sounds like Monotron
filter abuse is added for additional texture. We go into a pretty cool
little break utilizing all of the previously mentioned tactics to create
a slow motion trudge through depression. Definitely one of the coolest
moments on the record.

IV.) THE NEW HARNESSIANS:
"The New Harnessians" is the longest track on the album at a little over
ten minutes in total length. Segments of this track were recorded in a
different location than the rest so I am expecting it to be a little more
diverse that the others so far. It begins with buried drums featuring
crashing cymbals mixed way beneath walls of blown out noise. Deep, quaking
stuff that rattles and shakes any lose objects in the room. Guitars are a 
lot more distorted and come as experimental shredding as bass undercurrents
forcefully push us forward. The vocals are still obscurred spoken passages
and lazily sung fragments that are almost lost in the mix at times. Overall
there is much more Harsh Noise happening here than in previous tracks. Sort
of like a much more angst ridden and angry SONIC YOUTH. Feedback breaks up
powerfull blasts of blown out guitar noise. Rumbling electronic walls of noise
grind and wrestle for dominance within the mix. There are some really weird 
sounds present if you pay close attention. Sharp signals bleed out over the
rest and dissipate making room for additional sonic assaults and audio onslaughts.
The drums are even more minimal than before at times...Not my favorite element of
THE CROATOAN's sound but I can still enjoy this for what it is for the most part.
I almost feel like this would have been a more appropriate song to give the title
"Destroyed" to as it seems more fitting from a musical perspective. All in all it's
a very to the point piece that accomplishes what it is there to do.

V.) HALLOWEEN 1967:
In contrast to the last one, "Halloween 1967" is the shortest piece here at slightly
over two minutes but it is by far one of the Harshest and most punishing songs on
the album. Pure chaos. Every instrument is combined in an overyly distorted and over
blown mass of tangled sound. Another one that coulda easily have been called "Destroyed"
for that is exactly what it does to the listening. The high end tones on the static are
almost too loud at times. Harsh patterns battle with powerful bass guitars in a fight to
the death until everything falls into an outro of crisp rhythmic noise. 

VI.) CORNFIELDS:
We return to the standard formula we begun with although this time everything is amped
up and more intense. "Cornfields" excels in building tension. A blurry, disorienting
cyclone of sound twists itself around mid paced drums that slowly stomp out under almost
atonal synths that simply linger under the writhing chaos that spirals around them. Lead
guitars form free form demonstrations of feedback and buzzing under wah pedal type effects.
This one is purely instrumental and stays in the same gear throughout it's duration.

VII.) MEMORIAL:
"Memorial" features spoken to softly and melodically sung vocal poetry that is much more
louder and upfront in the mix compared to all the other tracks featuring vocals. The music
beneath comes as hazy Free-form Desert/Stoner Rock. Lo-Fi Psychedelic style stuff with a lot 
of fuzz. I really wish there was more singing of this style on the album as it sounds very
honest, real and emotional. The type of sound you'd usually only get at a live performance.
Raw and passionate stuff. The guitars are pretty damn cool sounding here and stretch out
over moaning bass waves that peak and drop in slow motion. At times I am reminded of some
of the earlier works from EARTH and similar artists on this one. Definitely a nice way to
end the album.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT THEN I THINK THIS IS 
WORTH A LISTEN. CERTAIN ELEMENTS MAY TAKE TIME TO GROW ON YOU BUT THERE ARE ENOUGH INTERESTING MOMENTS TO MAKE THIS WORTH GIVING IT A CHANCE. NOT FOR EVERYBODY BUT DEFINITELY FOR SOME:

6.5/10
-ABATTOIR-

loveearthmusic.com

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