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Cerberus Shoal - Mr Dog Boy  CD (album) cover

MR DOG BOY

Cerberus Shoal

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.95 | 10 ratings

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Pnoom!
4 stars Rating: B

Cerberus Shoal are one of the more adventurous bands around today, melding post-rock with avant-garde and jazz in new and exciting ways. Every album from them is different, as they are not afraid to try new things. On every album they experiment, toying with every style of music imaginable. Occasionally, they falter, but, more often than not, they succeed. Perhaps their most ambitious release to date, Mr. Boy Dog sees them emphatically succeeding. A long and winding release (clocking in at just under seventy minutes), Mr. Boy Dog captures an already fantastic band at their very best. Describing it is hard, as it doesn't sound like much else, but I will do my best.

The base sound for the album is jazz mixed with almost tribal percussion and mantra-like chants. On songs such as "Nataraja", "Vuka", and "Camel Bell", there are plenty of hooks and easily memorable themes, allowing the listener to grab on for this wild ride. But for every such hook, there is a curveball. "Camel Bell" opens with free from bell work for the first two minutes before it enters its far more accessible middle and ending. The biggest example, though, is "Tongue Drongue", a twelve minute track whose latter half is some of the best, most accessible music on the CD, but whose first half is experimental noises. Like "Camel Bell", it works, but it's easy to see many listeners being turned off by it.

Despite these far left field moments, Mr. Boy Dog is largely an approachable release, beautiful at times, exciting at others. It all builds up to Cerberus' Shoal's magnum opus, the eleven minute closer, "An Egypt That Does Not Exist". Mixing all the aforementioned elements with drone and chanting of the mantra, "I die daily", "An Egypt That Does Not Exist" is the pinnacle of Cerberus Shoal's entire career. Everything preceding it on Mr. Boy Dog builds up to it, and it does not disappoint in even the slightest manner.

Like most releases of its length, Mr. Boy Dog could probably be shortened (and thus improved), but it never gets boring and it doesn't feel nearly as long its run time would suggest. It will definitely take a few listens to sink in, but once it does, the listener will be rewarded with a fantastic album, one of the highlights of modern avant-garde music and a mini-masterpiece Cerberus Shoal will forever have to live up to. They've done an admirable job so far, and I can only hope they continue to do so. Until then, I'll just keep listening to the fantastic Mr. Boy Dog.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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