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Cheer-Accident - Sever Roots, Tree Dies CD (album) cover




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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Cheer-Accident's second effort and the first to be graced with a vinyl release: "Sever Roots, Tree Dies" is a whole catalogue of power and creativity that enormously dignifies the heritage of R.I.O. for the late 80s and beyond. The fact that nowadays Cheer-Accident happens to be one of the most respected avant-rock ensembles around can be explained without words, jus listening to this early work of theirs. The band's music is challenging without excessive ornaments, furious without losing a sense of elegance, disturbing without getting too obtuse, muscular yet drowned in an ocean of finesse. There are so many climatic moments in this album that one can only regret that they didn't get acquainted with this album earlier - in my case, I've just discovered this album 20 years after its initial release. 'Fight for Innocence' fills the album's first 6- minutes, starting with a sequence of ceremonious piano chord links that ultimately intensify the surrounding mood in order to pave the way for the whole ensemble to create a counterpointing dynamics very much a-la Present, albeit less creepy. This solid entry of energy and syncopation is properly reinforced in track 2, 'Death and Taxes', whose combination of muscular guitar inputs and vibrant rhythm section brings some sort of hybridization of Doctor Nerve and contemporary KC (before the reunion in the 90s!). While this track enters its fade-out, some abrasive mechanic noises emerge in full musique concrete fashion in order to portray the dehumanization of our modern society. This is what track 3 is all about: right near the end, a concise piano passage states some variety, as well as the dawning of the following piece, 'Avoid the Invisible'. This one lasts 9+ minutes, the longest track in the album. Right from the starting point of the emergent guitar riffs, this piece states such a great impact with its agile combination of heavy prog, jazz-rock and Crimsonian guitar attacks ("Red"- era). Each one of these three elements attains wide room for its elaborations, duly integrated in a clever amalgam of tension and contrast. Nothing is forced; every mood and tempo shift is controlled with immaculate fluidity. Time moves fast when listening to this exquisite display of electrifying neurosis but life goes on and so does this album. 'Severed' is next in line, starting with a piano that indulges in crepuscular moods (somehow evoking an abandoned cabaret): the coda is resolved in an exercise on post-rock. 'Heaven' is more extroverted, focused on an acid-jazz scheme bathed with heavy psychedelic punctuations. The whimsical mystery of the falsetto singing fits quite well with the instrumentation's constrained energy? and that trumpet solo is so lovely? and the fade-out happens too early. 'Black and White' is almost pre-grunge, but nothing to worry about: it's well constructed and not too long. On the other hand, 'Cutting Off My Arm So I Don't Have to Shake Hands' sounds like a punk version of Zappa, while still retaining a melodic cleanness. The album ends with 'Tree Dies', an intimate piano piece that provides a deep elegiac overtone: this reflective closure comes as a surprise in a way, but all in all, it bears a relaxing beauty that is always welcome. Even though this album is not completely consistent, Cheer-Accident is a band worth exploring, that's my general conclusion for this review.
Report this review (#226760)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut full length-album by Cheer-Accident, Sever Root Tree Dies, once again is a pretty different slice of music than what I have heard from them before. Other than Fear Draws Misfortune, this one sounds the most like Avant-Prog to my ears, yet beyond that the similarities between the two end. As the name suggests, this album has a much more violent sound to it. The music often sounds like it is being driven forward recklessly, especially on tracks such as Avoid the Invisible. You can clearly recognise Thymme's voice on this record, but he shares vocal duties with Chris Block, and either there is distortion on the vocals a lot of the time or they were just recorded oddly, but it adds to the aggressive feel of this album.

Surprisingly, there are only three members playing on this album - a fact that can be hard to believe while listening, for it sounds like there are at least 5 or 6 guys in the studio.

Compositionally this album is quite excellent. The tracks move from idea to idea, but in a very purposeful way. This is especially clear in the opener, "Fight For Innocence", which starts off with a nice, peaceful piano line, that slowly grows more and more angular as other instruments are added and the theme changes subtly.

Speaking of piano, Thymme is quite a talented player. Typically the piano lines are quite pretty, but this juxtaposition with the rest of Cheer-Accidents music (which is much less peaceful) really adds a unique flavor to this album. Severed is another place on the album where his pianos really shine.

Unfortunately, a couple of tracks suffer from repetitive end syndrome. I once again cite Avoid the Invisible, which at the end repeats the same sound for close to a full minute.

Cheer-Accident aren't a band without a sense of humour, as the track of the second-to-last track, "Cutting Off My Arm So I Don't Have To Shake Hands", reveals.The track itself is in fact one of the catchier ones off the album, a fast guitar riff really giving it a boost of energy, especially when combined with the rest of the Cheer-Accident sound (on this album).

I'm four albums into Cheer-Accident's discography, and don't quite know what to expect from their next one. What I do know is that so far, each one has succeeded in sounding fresh and unique, and this one is no exception. Very enjoyable.

Report this review (#307719)
Posted Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permalink

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