posted on 8/2010 By:
So maybe sometimes you have to look at the form more than the substance. Perhaps we expect too much from our artists. Impress us, surprise us, make our skin tingle and our blood boil. Maybe we ask what cannot be given, looking this Gift Horse in the mouth with so many high demands. I wonder if the “great” is now considered to just be the “good” despite the fact that the subpar is so celebrated and accepted. Mose Giganticus is only one man, and maybe I expected too much, and at times he is so close to imitation that I cannot tell if this is flattery, or a lack of vision of his own, but he’s decent at it, regardless.
Matt Garfield is the visionary I speak of, although some would strongly argue that bestowment I've given, and the list of individuals who have accompanied him on his journey is longer than the arm can reach. He’s no spring chicken to the Philadelphia music scene; his scars run deep; and his concepts are frequently high. His sounds, however, are quite familiar, as he plies a trade that is much more roll than rock. Contrastingly, he creates a mood that feels akin to being so wired you can’t be bothered to move, slow grooves and trippy synths wrapped around riffs of rolling stones. “The Left Path” is as compulsive as it is direct, following opener “Last Resort” like the line you snort to balance out from the previous whiskey shot, opening your eyes while distorting your sight, causing your head to sway just enough to let people know you’re feeling a little off-center.
Before you know it, the spirit of Eric Peterson unexpectedly materializes when “Demon Tusk” bares its fangs with a bafflingly strong nod to the mid-career of Testament, the Souls Of Black title track done post-rock style with all the angst intact. After many, many listens, it is always at this point that I realize I have no idea who Matt Garfield is, and by the time “The Seventh Seal” is broken with a richly textured solo, I still have no clue as to the identity of this artist. He is part Mastodon, part Clutch, and a great deal of The Melvins, while emitting none of the fervor of any of them. I yearn for a tighter grasp, or a higher plateau when “The Great Deceiver” reaches for the stars during the midsection, because the following crash is more of a splash than a splatter. Don’t just wet things down, smear all that muck across the pavement, damnit. There’s far too much kindness in his killing, although the pinwheel spin of “White Horse” blends all the colors of his blades into a very cohesive, lively little blur.
The man can write a cool song, I’ll give him that, but it’s all too easy to let those songs pass by without needing a second, or third glance. It’s evident Mose Giganticus is a grand example of a musician performing the type of music he himself adores listening to, since he wears his influences as brazenly as he utilizes a layered, effect-driven method of vocalizing. His individuality lies within his own love for the craft, but he seems to have cast a shadow over all of this by leaning so hard on his affections. Matt Garfield is a talented man, and a very interesting person, but I wish his music matched the fascinating persona that has yet to be expressed properly, because all is not dark in this valley, it’s just a bit too hidden to truly appreciate.
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