|It doesn't often happen to review bands like this, hard to catalogue outside the terms 'Acoustic Chamber Rock', although the booklet without any members' pictures has the end to stress out the instrumental and bucolic character of the record, completely devoid of vocals. An impressionist record that might have been played by Matisse or Monet if they had the possibility of playing nowadays with the mentality of the 19th century, that's what the songs deliver.
The title track reminds us of walks in open virgin snowy spaces even if there's no blue in the artwork at all and indeed it's a special grade of green to rule, whilst "Training Wheels" is more melancholic, featuring the violin as protagonist even tho not in solo; the composition changes later on, becoming more Rock, to calm down and get relaxed again after a few seconds. Amazing is the drums/violin duet, too.
In "Karmara" we taste high mountain air and the snow we find in the morning when we wake up in a hut and open a window. Once again when the rhythm is faster the guitar makes way to the wonderful violin vibratoes and the sparkling drumwork.
While "Speedbike" contains powerful percussions, strumming and a tight pace unfindable elsewhere (it even seems to me to hear a bass here and and in the next song but there's no trace in the credits), "Josie's Porch Swing" is another sad song where a tiny grain of Country is mixed with other forms of non-conventional Rock.
More delicate, romantic, deeply-rooted, "Snow Angel" is nothing but a day-dream, followed by a slow, autumnal and long track, "Life in Slow Motion", which abruptly turns lively on a couple of occasions. The more careful listeners will perceive different arrangements here; the music gets more orchestral, noble and the contrast with the following popular nervous arrangements shows another facade of the north American trio we didn't experience before.
"Chasing the Sun" commits the drummer the most; it might seem easy, but it takes absolute precision to enter, stop, give stress to a passage in tune with the other musicians, as well as escaping with the acoustic guitar.
"The Clearing" concludes with an inkling of Bluegrass in the sliding guitar attitude, but we should be in Siberia and not in America! Probably the roots are so strong that it's impossible to hide them through a whole record, so this song is an interesting hybrid suitable to audiences from diverse continents.
I admit I didn't know this 3-piece before, and I welcome them on the scene with respect and admiration for supplying us with 38 minutes of magic; no fillers, no boredom, yet the record is all but a mainstream one. A perfect background to relax home or during a long lonely journey.
|MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - June 20th, 2010|
Line-up on this record:
Bill Martien - guitar
Matt Clarke - drums
Alissa Taylor - violin
254 Warren St. NE, Washington D.C. 20002 - USA
-Blue Siberia (CD - 2010)