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Cerberus Shoal - Homb  CD (album) cover

HOMB

Cerberus Shoal

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.89 | 10 ratings

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Pnoom!
4 stars Rating: B

Cerberus Shoal are one of so many unclassifiable bands; their career has seen releases of everything from Slint-inspired emo (Cerberus Shoal) to jazz (Mr. Boy Dog) to new weird America (Chaiming the Knoblessone) to free improvisation (Elements of Structuer/Permanence). Their CD Homb is perhaps their most overtly post-rock album (along with the s/t debut), relying on a similar use of atmosphere as post-rock. That said, it clearly isn't a true post-rock album. Whereas most post-rock bases itself around its climaxes, that couldn't be further from the truth. Across its five songs, there is only one section even remotely resembling a climax (that at the beginning of the second part of "Myrrh"), and even that doesn't really qualify. For the most part, the album moves at a crawling pace.

That's not a bad thing, though, as it never loses the listener's interest (though it does feel slightly dead in a few spots). The opening two tracks set the stage, relying on brooding atmospheres and slow, deliberate electronics augmented with long held tones on trumpet. The real fun, however, begins with the three part "Myrrh", which is among their better compositions. The first section starts similarly to "Harvest" and "Omphalos", but it diverges from that path, coming to incorporate mantra-like chants, which also pop up in the other two parts of "Myrrh". The second part, "Waft", is by far the peak of the CD, with the aforementioned "climax" followed by more chanting and some beautiful flute work. The CD wraps up with "Myrrh (Reprise)", which, as the title suggests, explores similar ideas as the first two parts of "Myrrh", tying them together wonderfully and adding a folk/world music element that separates it as its own entity, rather than just a rehashing of earlier ideas.

On the whole, this is a somewhat difficult release to recommend, since it is neither a standout as a post-rock album nor as an avant-garde album. It's also nowhere near being Cerberus Shoal's best. Nevertheless, fans of the band, or even those looking for something that truly sounds different within the often tired genre of post-rock (which often seems dominated by imitators hoping to cash in on the glory of the original greats, rather than furthering the genre with new ideas), Homb is definitely a good place to look. Everyone else would be far better off starting with Chaiming the Knoblessone or Mr. Boy Dog for Cerberus Shoal. A worthwhile release, but not a landmark one. Hesitantly recommended.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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