Header
Cerberus Shoal - Bastion of Itchy Preeves CD (album) cover

BASTION OF ITCHY PREEVES

Cerberus Shoal

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.19 | 7 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I really don’t get the point of this album, which knowing Cerberus Shoal probably is the point of this album. More so than any of their other dozen or so releases, this one exemplifies the collaborative, communal nature of their approach to music making.

No one person or instrument dominates, nor does any particular style or theme as near as I can tell. Some of the lyrics are silly (“I know your feathers are wet!”), others unintelligible, and still others seem cerebrally wise and thoughtful. Just about everyone gets in on the singing (which is more plentiful here than on any of their previous records); at times it seems like just about all of them are singing at once, although not necessarily the same song or even in the same key. Some stand out, in particular Colleen Kinsella who hadn’t been with the group very long when they first recorded these tracks in 2000 (although the record itself wouldn’t be released until 2003). Her voice varies at times from a rather pleasant, easy canter to shrill freak folk, and is usually rather flat but not so much as to impinge on the power of the music. Chriss Sutherland, who plays bass in addition to chortling a convincing David Byrne imitation is the other somewhat dominant voice (especially on “Bogart the Change”), but none of the members take center-stage to the detriment of the others.

And this is part of the problem and the providence of this band. All of them seem to actively contribute to every album and every song, but sort of like every bee-member contributes to stitching a quilt: the results may be beautiful, but may just as easily end up displaying an egregious flaw due to the lack of central direction. For those who like their music well- organized and neat, Cerberus Shoal will prove beyond maddening. For avant-garde/RIO nuts, these guys are just this side of Henry Cow, and have been described as ‘a 3rd-rate Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. I can buy that comparison, but could just as easily bundle them in the same loose collective of acts like Faun Fables, Larkin Grimm or Tunng (check out “Baby Gal” for the best example of the latter two).

Ms. Kinsella appears to be the biggest influence on the band’s eventual veering off into freak folk territory, as that side of the group was nonexistent before she landed a gig with them. Again “Baby Gal” is the best evidence of this, as well as “Tekel Upharsin” and the vaguely Eastern European-sounding “Train Car Nursery”.

The band also continues their habit of marginally clever song titles, including “A Cloud No Bigger Than a Man's Head” combined with the closing “A Head No Bigger Than a Man's Cloud” and the somehow appropriately-titled “Shaky Bull”. Check out any album after this for plenty more examples.

Also get ready for plenty of drone, loads of words (some of which are actual singing), liberal use of ebow and oud (like you don’t get that combination every day!), and bizarre deployment of a Jew’s harp that reminds me a bit of Reverend Glasseye and His Wooden Legs’ “One More Smoke”. Throw in the faint presence of melody when the mood suits them (not often, by the way) and a ubiquitous and varied rhythm section and you have an interesting though incongruous collection of songs that will definitely challenge your music- listening skills. When all is said and done I suppose that’s a good thing, unless of course you prefer music that requires nothing of the listener. If that’s the case head on over to the Pop/Dance aisle at your local mega-chain store; otherwise take some time to hunt this thing down and give it a try; if nothing else it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment when (if) you manage to get through the whole thing. Three stars.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Share this CERBERUS SHOAL review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.03 seconds