Time of Orchids "Early as Seen in Pace" CD
Four tracks. Must be an EP, eh? Not so with these whackjobs. Try 42 minutes. This is as wild and diverse as the band's other material, if not moreso. In some ways it hints at a more concrete melodic and musical sensibility, with a more linear structure... in some ways. But it's still fuckin' nuts. Combine excellent singing and vocal harmonies mixed with screaming, speaking, wailing, etc. Then back that with creatively rhythmic music that has a jazzy edge to it, with some funkiness going on as well, almost like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Jane's Addiction on crack, but not in a typical songwriting format at all, and with a truly edgy bite to the writing (yes, there's still some Mike Patton-esque action happening). The only thing I'm not fond of here are the keyboards, which at times work, but at times cloud the mix and detract from the more interesting aspects of the compositions. I really like the fact that the guitars are largely smooth and clean, using little or no distortion, which gives the percussion plenty of breathing room. "Voice" is one track that definitely lacks the more tangible structure that some of these other songs possess, as it's far more experimental and just sort of sways back and forth and creates itself on the fly, which is far less effective than, say, the excellent use of repetition in "Mention a Barn". Meanwhile the spacious and somewhat progressive/improvisational tinges of "Ascend, in Pact" are ironically some of my favorite moments on this CD. The recording is pretty interesting because the mix has a lot going on but tends to remain largely clear, and there are a lot of different sounds at work. Sometimes things get intentionally distant, other times they swirl around, etc. The vocals and drums tend to sound consistently good, while the bass notes (a Chapman stick is used) can tend to get lost, and sometimes the guitar tones are better suited for different types of playing not always represented here. The disc comes in a slim cardboard slipcase with full color artwork and a black and white insert for the lyrics. I can't tell what's going on with the art as it's pretty abstract, but everything looks a bit more dull and bland than most Time of Orchids releases. The lyrics are as curious as ever, though. "Here and now, it's public, It's in the people, Funny how they laugh, These tunnels are useless, I've spoken for all the elderly, They're all so brave..." The best portions of this disc are Time of Orchids' finest work to date, though overall I'm not totally into these four songs. It's a bit long and bulky for its own good considering that there are numerous passages that could be done without, but the band still refuses to stagnate and is showing great progress/promise in areas, so the future for the band still looks peculiarly bright. (6/10)
Running time - 42:03, Tracks: 4
[Notable tracks: Mention a Barn, Ascend, in Pact]
Epicene Sound Systems - http://www.epicenesoundsystems.com
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