Friday, June 27, 2008

Reviews:: Capillary Action So Embarrassing

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I'm going to spend today reviewing records that wouldn't really fall into my "wheelhouse", giving you all a break from the dusty trail, slide guitar hootenannies we've been throwing on the regular here lately. Don't worry, I've got some terrific death country (Elliot Brood's new record will knock you on your ass) and a sneak peak of the new (self-released) Backyard Tire Fire record due in August - which on first pass is way more catchy and loud than you'd expect.

But today is all about CDs that might not see the light of day normally on the hill. Why? Well, probably because you can only write creatively about the same sad songs for so long without losing your mind, but also because these artists deserve some press, even if it's not necessarily my thing. First out of the blocks is the new release by Seattle's Capillary Action.

Now, back in the day I was huge into bands like Cap n' Jazz and Joan of Arc. The energetic fragments those bands combined sounded amazing, and when they settled into a groove amongst the chaos, it was incredible. Well, Within seconds of listening to the new Cap Action record - So Embarrassing - I was hit with that familiar tension, drama and stomach punch power and found myself turning it up to almost unbearable levels.

The record, which basically plays like a well curated collections of short stories that all use the same theme, is as ambitious as it is creative. Elevator F*ck finds the band supporting Jon's deep vocals with most enjoyable standard indie groove on the record but hides the pleasantries under flourishes of tropical pop, noise freak outs, spastic jazz snippets and tribal drumming.

Badlands basically loops a deep breath into chopped up fragments and remarkably, it combines with the instrumentation to build an urgency out of almost nothing. Paperweights starts with finger clackers and Desperato-styled guitar, but slowly the band adds a stomping kick drum, graceful strings and creates a relaxing, almost weightless reprise from the chaotic transitions.

That's the thing about this record. It could be an exhausting listen; the styles the band experiments with are all over the map (Sexy Koala has somehow figured out to mesh jazz guitar with hardcore blasts) and never lets you settle into a comfort zone, but I'd tend to say the record is exhaustive. Cap Action uses any and every influence, inspiration or instrument they can find, but keeps it remarkably tight and controlled. It's like they managed to combine countless odd shaped pegs (horns, feedback, jazz, screamo, Latin influenced pop) into a well formed circle that fits perfectly in the hole.

Posted at 8:02 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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