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Dredg - Catch Without Arms CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.42 | 153 ratings

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3 stars Dredg - Catch Without Arms

Dredg first gave us the impressive yet artfully flawed Leitmotif, then they shipped out the masterpiece that struck awe into the faces of all: El Cielo, and now they have given us another good release in Catch Without Arms. Whereas the first album was hard-edge in comparison to the second, this one is, well, poppier on all fronts than any of the other previous releases. Instead of the swirling and interesting compositions that were abroad throughout El Cielo, Catch Without Arms instead favors relatively simpler structures that, while not as "progressive" or forward-moving as their other tracks/releases, still manage to captivate and to enchant in that way that only Dredg songs can do.

Despite this album's pitfalls (it is definitely a move in the "wrong direction" as some would say), Dredg's sound continues to be a complex foray into many little sub genres, extenuated by the details and the things going on in the background--which are given just as much attention as the sounds in the forefront.

Their sound, while built around simplicity, is still unique and, quite honestly, like little you've heard before; something greatly helped by Gavin Hayes amazing vocals, back and better than ever on this release. He and the band have an incredible knack for delivering some of the most memorable lines and riffs you'll ever hear in your life--it's pure emotion mixed with power and raw energy, and it's a combination that I'll always come back for and always love, despite the simplicity behind it all. It's this driving simplicity, which almost serves as a definer of the band (at least on this album), that keeps them so fresh and unique. Some people would dismiss the band (especially here) for being too mainstream and whatnot, but I must ask why that should matter: if a band sounds good to you then why shouldn't you like it, despite the simplicity? Some people just seem to think that music that can be called "prog" is all time-shifts and keyboard solos--two things Dredg certainly do not specialize in. The band deserves to be heard, so lay down any prejudices you have if you plan to pick this one up over El Cielo (for whatever reason anyone would do so; this one is still a good release, but El Cielo blows it out of the water on any day of the week, year, millennia, etc).

Now the music:

The album opens incredibly strongly with four amazing tracks in a row: Ode to the Sun is one of Dredg's best tracks. It begins with a subtle fade in--as is now common to them--and then escalates into a something quite lively--also serving as something almost ethereal and uplifting. Then Bug Eyes--the track that everyone that knows Dredg exists has heard. Very nice track with some eerie slide guitar. Then Catch Without Arms --another one of their best tracks--especially the bridge section where they break from major to minor progression--it gives me chills. Then Not that Simple which delivers an amazing chorus of If all else fails, if all else turns to dust / Set sail on a ship built for us. It's as beautiful as it sounds, though slower, and admittedly it wears more with age than the other three do.

Then we get to Zebraskin, which is, at least in my opinion, the worst track on the album, with cheesy-sounding lyrics about alcoholism (maybe I just don't relate to them, as I've never drank in my life.) and a rather odd, almost toneless melody. It is actually my least favorite Dredg song of all of their work thus far. Then we end Perspective One (essentially, Side One) with Tanbark--an upbeat song that feels sort of disjointed, and Sang Real--which is a great piano/drum machine driven track with a very catchy chorus and great lyrics.

Perspective Two opens up with Planting Seeds and Spitshine, two rather unremarkable tracks that serve to give the album a kind of blur, as they neither stand out, nor shout: bad! like "Zebraskin". Then we have Jamais Vu, a great track which opens with a neat guitar riff that builds the mainframe for the song itself. I'm very drawn to the eeriness of this track, and it features (once again), a very memorable chorus.

Following this we have Hungover On a Tuesday an emotional and upbeat track comparable (and rightfully so) to the opener on the album, and equally as catchy, emotional, and powerful--if not even more so.. The closer, Matroshka is awesome. Built around very uplifting tones, it feels like redemption, and is easily on of Dredg's best tracks, without a doubt--a closer for the album that puts it back in good standings, and makes listening to the entirety completely worth it.

All in all, this album is not nearly as good as El Cielo, but it certainly has its moments and merits, it's just a step in the wrong direction. Still, the good tracks on this album manage to captivate just as much as any of the best material on El Cielo did, and for that, I think I'd consider a worthy album of owning, despite the few dud tracks it contains.

I'd say I'd give it a very generous 6.5 or so, but I'll stick to 3 stars as it merits "Good, but non-essential" I think.

Figglesnout | 3/5 |


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