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

SEVER ROOTS, TREE DIES

Cheer-Accident

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.84 | 19 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
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.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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