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Cul De Sac - Ecim CD (album) cover


Cul De Sac


Post Rock/Math rock

2.64 | 10 ratings

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3 stars Going against the grain

I've often come across folks who adore the alluring stuttering trades of Can - searching high and low for something close - something illustrious and new in the same ballpark, and while Can always were unique and without any real successor, you'l certainly find a lot to like on this debut album by Cul de Sac, if you enjoy motorik laden grooves and small swirling guitar patterns that continue to colour those small spaces between the beats.

Cul de Sac are a Boston based act that disregarded all matters of fashionable trends set by the raggedy grunge hordes coming out of Seattle at the time. We're talking 1991 and bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Nirvana and a truckload of others were enjoying their day in the sun. Literally sweeping across the world like a wildfire, grunge had taken a hold on teenagers - the way they dressed, acted and attended gigs - gigs that now entailed kids on top of each other or ecstatically bouncing into one another with brute primal force. Cul de Sac drew their inspiration from the same place as grunge actually, but whereas the latter focused on the easy digestible ear-candy of a guitar riff, the lads out of Boston looked overseas to the lands of mushy convoluted experiments - preferably coming out of Germany. The ritualistic dance music of Krautrock.

Today the music scene has nearly dissolved - blown up into a million fragmented pieces. Download culture and the everything goes attitude now prevails leading big business music labels to change their ways or lay down die and whither away, -and just like in fashion where designers now have opened up the floodgates to every style and trend from the preceding century, music now seems similarly shattered into tiny fragmented societies for then to be glued together like some sort of sonic Frankenstein. Sadly though this change has also turned everybody into a dedicated fan that 'likes' his/her stuff on Facebook and Twitters all over the place like some mental stork advertising post prog rock pop metal funk in higher altitudes and beyond. Luckily so this does also mean that styles and genres now are blending at a furious rate, and we need not look any further than here on our beloved site, where black metal bands have crept in the back door. Back in the 90s, this musical gang bang was only in it's pyjamas, and it was bands like Cul de Sac that pioneered these changes within the music scene.

The music here is a powerful blend of late 60s psychedelia and a German styled stuttering rhythm section that tjuh tjuhs it's way all down the line like a reliable steam engine. Sure the obvious nod to a band like Can is inevitable, but I hear just as much LA Düsseldorf in the rhythm section and the meaty incessant drive of things. A trade that a lot of the more 'skilled' punk bands sucked into their sound, and practically claimed as their own during a couple of tumultuous years, where it was okay to be experimental - as long as you didn't flaunt your skills or played a solo.

There are heaps upon heaps of underground bands today that owe their existence and sound to a band like Cul de Sac. The marriage of danceable snuffling beats and those psychedelic sways of surfer guitar is a quick way of satisfying even the most hardcore music critic, and indeed: there is something here for almost everyone into rock music. As this band continued to evolve, and even got to play with one of their biggest heroes in Damo Suzuki, their sound progressed naturally and brought with it a sense of maturity and a way of opening up to all the different ideas they had floating around in their young and naive heads anno 1991. As it is Ecim is still a very cool album that unassumingly leads you on your way into the colourful, stuttering and industrial psychedelia of Cul de Sac. 3.5 stars and highly recommended to fans of modern prog rock that doesn't necessarily sound like it.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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