Friday, May 15, 2020
Cassette Review //
(Crass Lips Records)
Back in the early '00's there was this great scene of music coming out of MA and a few of the artists can be found in this band Baklavaa. I immediately hear artists who you may not remember (but should look up) like Garrison and The Lot Six. There is also a certain amount of The Casket Lottery in here, if you want to step out of the MA scene. These guitars on this first song just run so fast and with so many layers it doesn't seem possible for the bass and drums to keep up, yet here we are-- they just make it work.
"A Thousand Dinners" has vocals hidden behind this guitar wall and metal-like bass lines. This really brings out thoughts of The Lot Six to me- which is great because I think more bands need to try and have an influence on their earlier work- but I also hear bands like Christiansen and Cloud Nothings. There may or may not be another band or ten I hear in here and can relate this with but that would only be because in 2000~ish I was all about bands who sound like this (And I still am, they just seem to be harder to find now)
Such complex noise rock and "Mouthing" just hits like a punch in the jaw. I'm hearing a little bit of Coheed in here as it breaks down instrumentally. Within this all, I somehow feel like there is some grunge, which maybe you can't hear on the surface as well but the more you listen to it, you'll hear it, like with the plodding drums on "Winter". The vocals feel distorted but this just grinds like Mudhoney and then I'm pretty certain I hear a sax in here as well, which is a nice touch.
The way this can go from the trippy psych loops into a faster paced distorted punk is not something many artists can pull off- which is why I feel like a lot of them don't even bother trying- but this is done so well and I'm so excited for it every time I hear it. This is how the first side comes to an end and it leaves me with more questions than answers perhaps but I do so enjoy it.
Guitar notes drop like a dream, there are some loops and this just has a pure and beautiful sound to it as the flip side opens up with an instrumental number. And there is something to be said here about physical media because when listening to digital you can't experience the divide in the sound- as this side starts up somewhat different than the one before it- as you can with a cassette or even a record.
The pace has slowed down and gone from distorted chaos to a melodic indie rock like They Might Be GIants fused with The Cure somehow. Then with a single cymbal crash, we're right back into the noise and destruction which I fell in love with on the first side. But it was nice for Baklavaa to sort of ease us back into this sound on the second side of this cassette. We're really getting into that Garrison territory now that I love so much.
This all breaks down into a distorted guitar riff which is just building in a dark, metal way. Electronic wind chimes come out now and you can hear waves crashing behind it all. These type of sounds are why I feel like this one starts off a certain way- reminding me of past bands I love- but it somehow just manages to find its own way through as well because despite all of the influences I've named it truly does capture a sound all its own.