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Cheer-Accident - Fear Draws Misfortune CD (album) cover





3.89 | 51 ratings

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The Hemulen
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A jerky, atonal guitar riff, alone and unsupported is the first thing to greet your ears when you put this album on. It's soon joined by another, equally abrasive guitar phrase. And then another. The three riffs seem to converge and rub against one another at the same time before a trumpet suddenly bursts in on the mix and then, before you even get a chance to get used to it, the drums kick in.

And that's it.

That's the moment I realised that this album was something a little bit special. The way Thymme Jones manages to sweep in with such a lazy, simple drum beat over all those confusing, jangly sounds is simply staggering. Something that started out sounding almost alien in its obliqueness suddenly sounds perfectly natural. The remainder of the song more than lives up to its initial promise, too - a bleak, disharmonious tune filled with massed female vocals, gritty guitar and pounding bass (the latter of which I find rather reminiscent of Jannick Top's meaty Zeuhl sound, but with a little more restraint).

Actually, restraint is a surprisingly good word to describe much of this album. The whole thing is a tightly composed, arranged sort of affair with little room for improvisation. This is, in my opinion, no bad thing.

The two short tracks which follow the superb but somewhat lethargic opener brilliantly showcase the band's more frenetic side. "Mescaliato" is a quick burst of bass-laden madness in which the band play a complex Gentle Giant-esque rhythm in (mostly) absolute synchronisation. It also features some wild growling guitar and, again, that Zeuhl-y bass is to the fore. This jumps straight into "And Then You Realise You Haven't Left Yet", a somewhat jazzier affair with pounding piano and sax. Again, tightly composed and full of notes. Lovely stuff.

"Blue Cheadle" was an instant favourite of mine, what with its grinding riff which almost seems to drop beats at random only to pick them right back up again, chant-like repetitive vocals and positively eerie violins which shudder and whine the song to a close.

"The Carnal, Garish City" is highly reminiscent of Thinking Plague and 5uu's without ever sound remotely derivative. Another stand-out track that I really can't even begin to describe adequately. : "According to the Spiral" introduces an unexpected element to the avant-prog mix: poppy, soulful vocals. Something of a shock at first, but it quickly becomes clear that rather than a jarring juxtaposition, they fit in beautifully with the album's dark, intricate sound.

This is further explored in the album's closing song, the mini-epic "Your Weak Heart". It begins with a heartfelt piece of piano-accompanied crooning which wouldn't seem out of place on any American singer/songerwriter's album. This bleeds its way into an extended instrumental avant-prog workout in which unfolds with an increasingly gut-wrenching sense of urgency, underpinned all the while by Jones' hammering piano. All of a sudden it jerks back to the original vocal refrain, which now feels like a completely different song due to the madness that has come before it.

It's been a struggle to write this review, as there are so few adequate ways to describe the music on this album. Comparisons to other bands nearly always seem unjustified or misleading whilst attempts to pigeonhole even individual parts of songs have left me scratching my head in bewilderment. Having said this, nothing on this album sounds SO dissimilar to me that I would ever feel lost or alienated by it. Any seasoned avant-prog fan is unlikely to find this album a challenge to appreciate. Instead, they will simply relish in its complexities (and its simplicities too), and wallow in the nigh-on perfectly constructed-ness of it all.

Arbitrary list of songs I like ever so slightly more than all the other songs on this album (which I also really like):

Sun Dies Blue Cheadle The Carnal, Garish City According to the Spiral

The Hemulen | 4/5 |


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