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Cerberus Shoal - The Land We All Believe In CD (album) cover


Cerberus Shoal



3.93 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Rating: B+

As one of the quirkiest bands in music's long (and often quirky) history, Cerberus Shoal never fail to surprise the listener with each album. That's certainly still the case on The Land We All Believe In, their most recent album to date (though there are rumors of a new one), and one of their very best (which, given the general high quality of their albums, actually means something). In fact, this might be their quirkiest album yet, jumping all over the musical map in a strikingly cohesive manner.

To the degree that a genre can be pinned on this album it's a continuation of the freak folk from albums such as Chaiming the Knoblessone, Bastion of Itchy Preeves, and Crash My Moon Yacht, but it outdoes all of those. Unlike Chaiming the Knoblessone, which started strong but tailed off disappointing in the second half, The Land We All Believe In is consistent throughout. And unlike Bastion of Itchy Preeves, The Land We All Believe In does have any weaker tracks in the middle. In fact, the only weak section of this album is the middle of "The Ghosts are Greedy", where Cerberus Shoal sink into cliché ominous/horror soundtrack type dilly-dallying. Bookending this one weaker section, though, are two excellent sections, so those weaker five minutes do not take much of a toll on the album.

Other than those five minutes, the album is top notch. The opener is a pleasant, only slightly strange folk pop song that hints at what's to come, and indeed "Wyrm" delivers, with infectious, ethnic-tinged vocals on top of a lively avant-garde folk backdrop. "Pie for President", the shortest track on the album, is a testament to the band's sheer strangeness, jumping from one style to another a la Mr. Bungle, except where Mr. Bungle were sinister and evil, Cerberus Shoal are light and humorous. The real highlight, though, is the closing "Taking Out the Enemy", a sixteen-minute opus with everything that makes Cerberus Shoal good. Some mantra-like chanting, plenty of crazy folk, and the charmingly bizarre atmosphere that makes Cerberus Shoal so much fun to listen to.

In addition to being one of their best albums, The Land We All Believe In has the advantage of being perhaps their most accessible album to date. As such, it makes the perfect starting place for those who don't know where to begin with this fabulous band. For post-rock fans, this should be later purchase, as post-rock fans should Homb and Elements of Structure/Permanence first, but for everyone else, this should be the first Cerberus Shoal acquisition. I love it to death and cannot recommend it highly enough, despite the dull middle section of "The Ghosts Are Greedy".

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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