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





3.89 | 51 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yet another 2009 prog gem, Cheer-Accident's "Fear Draws Misfotune" is living proof that the avant-rock scene in the USA has a major presence concerning the permanence and enhancement of the most bizarre trenes of prog rock nowadays. This band is a recent discovery of mine, and I imagine that there are lots of PA readers that are still to this veteran ensemble's body of work. Let me tell them all that Cheer-Accident is treasure worth checking, and the sooner the merrier. After getting acquainted with other bands from the country of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Edward Hopper such as French TV (pure eclectic mischief in total progressive fashion) and Rascal Reporters (manifestation of playfulness in a bizarrely intelligent framework), I felt more than ready to start my research into this bands founded by drummer/pianist Thymme Jones in the early 80s. After a bunch of studio efforts and plenty of line-up changes, the current Cheer-Accident is the nuclear trio of Jones, guitarist/trumpeter Jeff Libersher and bassist Alex Perkolup, persistently supported by a varying host of guest musicians on sundry "unorthodox" instruments (violin, tuba, trombone...). Among the distinguished support musicians are the talented (and beautiful) violinist of SGM, as well as Dave Smith and Fred Lonberg-Holm, important members of the avant-garde chamber and experimental jazz scenes of the USA. Going through the album, let's begin at the beginning. The opener 'Sun Dies' starts with a dissonant sequence of guitar juxtaposed against the horns, with added vocal arrangements. This prologue fades out at the 2 minute mark so the main body can emerge settled on a catchy pace. The combined sophistication and energy grow their intensity gradually, making the piece simulate a marriage of Henry Cow and Thinking Plague in a Crimsonian altar. 'Mescalito' finds the band exploring a more explosive atmosphere, something like a metallish refurbishment of Zappa's signature madness, which in turn makes Cheer-Accident lean close to the demented standards of Doctor Nerve. This short piece is segued into another track whose shortness goes in parallel with its intensity - 'And Then You Realize You Haven't Left Yet'. This one has a very European feel to it, related to the grayish density of Belgian masters Univers Zero and Present. Personally, I wouldn't have minded at all if the latter track had been developed into a longer duration, although I must admit that this "abruptly finished" strategy works perfectly as a listening experience aimed at the accomplishment of catharsis. With this dynamics of administered tension, the band sets up to explore a lighter side of things with 'Blue Cheadle', which arises as the catchier song so far: but let's not overlook those fusionesque ornaments that go flowing naturally or those semi-Magmian choral arrangements. There is a sense of perverse disturbance in the air among the rocking celebration all the way toward the magnificent climax. 'Disenchantment' bears heavily minimalistic industrial ambiences, well rooted in the futuristic side of classic R.I.O. near the end, a female chant and some weird accordion notes provide extra textures. 'The Carnal, Garish City' brings back the patent progressive sophistication that had already been present in 'And Then You Realize You Haven't Left Yet', only this time the greyish moods are properly attenuated by the utilization of agile cadences that belong in the more cheerful pattern of USA's chamber-rock (remember Cartoon or Pocket Orchestra? Well, Cheer-Accident is from that forgotten age of art-rock). The agility and vivacity so vividly expressed in 'The Carnal, Garish City' is perpetuated in 'According to the Spiral', which bears a pulsating drive handled with elegant mastery. All in all, I feel that these two tracks should have benefited from more expanded arrangements, but fortunately, this perception isn't reiterated in the last two tracks - 'Humanizing the Distance' and 'Your Weak Heart'. 'Humanizing the Distance' is somewhat focused on the heavy prog thing with an accentuated Crimsonian twist. The strategically placed brass arrangements powerfully add a defining punch to the whole framework. After arriving at the 4 minute mark, there is a chaotic shift that causes a crucial impact on the track's structure in order to pave the way for the forthcoming eerie coda. The gentle piano chords that ultimately appear serve as a connection to the closing track 'Your Weak Heart'. It starts as a piano-voice ballad, with the keyboard washes little by little building complex textures that end up leading to a bombastic manifestation of nostalgia (not unlike compatriot band Far Corner). The ballad mood returns for the coda, ending the song and album on a fascinating reflective note. "Fear Draws Misfortune" is a robust musical work, signaled by an amazing management of avant-garde sources and a clever use of tight sounds. Cheer-Accident gives definitive proof of its ongoing vitality.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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