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Cerberus Shoal - ...and farewell to hightide  CD (album) cover


Cerberus Shoal



2.36 | 6 ratings

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2 stars With their second album Cerberus Shoal certainly give the appearance of a group that is heading down the post-rock path, ala Explosions in the Sky. These songs have semantically-appropriate abstract titles (“Broken Springs Spring Forth from Broken Clocks”, “Make Winter a Driving Song”, “J.B.O. vs. Blin”), and there is the obligatory single song pretentiously split into a Part 1 and Part 2 for no other reason than because they can. And the song structures certainly smack of post-rock with their interminably slow cadences that build to predictable crescendos and then ease away into precocious endings. There is singing, but Efrim Menuck okayed that with the first GY!BE album so this is technically not a lapse of decorum. And naturally the songs are quite long, with only one under ten minutes and that one just barely (that is, if you count the two parts of “Falling to Pieces” as one song – and you should).

But the band would go on to prove conclusively that they would not be pigeonholed into the late-90s post-rock mold with their subsequent albums, and especially beginning with the lineup that recorded the trio of ‘Homb’, ‘Crash my Moon Yacht’ and ‘Mr. Boy Dog’ during a three year touring frenzy to close out the decade.

As for this album, like I said they do a good job of putting on a show that reminds me quite a bit of Explosions in the Sky (disregarding that band’s first album of course). If you’ve heard any of that group you’ll know what this one sounds like. Kudos to the band for demonstrating the musical energy one would expect in a song titled “Broken Springs Spring Forth from Broken Clocks” by the way, and also for evoking strong feelings of both winter and driving on “Make Winter a Driving Song”. But they still sound like Explosions songs.

I should also mention the copy I have is the remastered version released in 2002 on the Temporary Residence Limited label. This thing has been released four times to my knowledge, so whatever copy you come across may be slightly different. The biggest change I know of with this one is the inclusion of a second disc containing “Lighthouse in Athens”, parts 1 & 2, which were recorded just before this album in late 1995 or early 1996 but never formally released except here as far as I know. And that’s another minor quibble – the CD package contains two discs that could have easily fit onto one (the total length is less than 67 minutes); however, liner notes are almost nonexistent. Just the band and studio credits – that’s about it. No photos, bio or history, endless list of people to thank, free rolling papers, nothing. Seems like the label could have saved a buck on the extra disc and sprung for one of those hip ‘Printed in Canada’ liner booklets with tidbits of band information just on the off-chance someone actually cared. Or at least stuck in the same promo sheet they distributed to critics and radio stations; even that would have been nice. “Lighthouse in Athens” is an interesting period piece of the band’s early years by the way, but it also suffers slightly from to-be-expected uneven production, some awkward transitions and fairly pedestrian singing.

I’m going to go with two stars for Farewell, not because there’s anything necessarily wrong with the music, but because I’ve heard most of what came later and have to make allowances for the growth and range the band would exhibit between when this was recorded and when their growing popularity led to its re-master and reissue. Leave this one for last if you’re exploring the band, and only if you are determined to have a complete discography.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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