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June Cleaver And The Steak Knives - Auricular Peculiar CD (album) cover


June Cleaver And The Steak Knives


Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 4 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Beaver digs

June Cleaver and the Steak Knives is a recording collaboration of brothers Chris and Pat Bradley, originally from Syracuse NY. They are multi-instrumentalists who will play anything they can get their hands on. Here they also incorporate guest brass musicians and vocals on a project that is so free and crazy it has avant and electronic elements as well as eclectic. They are described wonderfully by Sharon Nichols on their Myspace page: "a schizoid blend of experimental rock....a few ingredients you might find: Frank Zappa, Quentin Tarantino, graveyard dirt, Radiohead, crystal meth, Robert Smith, Eddie Haskel, 3-D glasses, Pink Floyd, Mr. Bungle, a bikini, The Jazz Butcher, Marty Feldman's eyeballs, and way too much coffee....a blend of surf, jazz, lounge, rockabilly, goth, psychedelia, metal, trip-hop, techno, and some uncategorizable soundscapes of dementia."

Yes, anything does go but it is not random pointless noise. Sound effects and various sound collage is blended with actual melodies and some bizarre music variations from surf-rock, psych-pop, metal, lounge, whatever! "Sky is Falling" is fantastic as the surf-guitar and heavy bass-line morph into a Floyd-ey psych and pop with trippy vocals, fluid lead guitar, and acoustic guitar. "The Other Side" manages to remind me of The Cure while "Coffee Assassin" is a marvelous trance of slurry vocals and piano. "Driving Evil from the World" recalls Cibo Matto briefly then mixes power chords and electronica, then some squalling guitar over a military speech at the end. Each track gives you something completely different, retro-avant pop one moment, barely lucid or dark psych-rock the next. It almost sounds like the kind of album Syd Barrett might have made had he returned from hiatus in the 90s in good health. They could also do a hell of a job backing Bjork and providing all of the electronica and organic sounds she would require. It has that experimental curiosity but also a lightness as it never abandons pleasurable sound in the search for weirdness. Most songs are pretty short, in the 2-4 minute range. The production and sound quality are not Steven Wilson quality but they are certainly listenable. The drums often need more oomph. The track "New Year" is so beautiful, a lovely piano soundscape with a touch of flute.

While very much an indie project right down to the CR-R that CDBaby sent me, this is a fine band that deserves way more attention on PA. This is one of those albums I just randomly plucked to check out and sometimes those surprises pay off. As Plasmud notes on their Myspace: "with its mixture of jazz, metal, and hip hop beats, the Brothers Bradley destroy all possibilities of being pigeon-holed." I'll be back for more.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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