Release DetailsLABEL Seventh Rule Recordings
RELEASED ON 2/19/2013
TAGGED Eight Bells
Posty, proggy, dark, droney, heavy, mellow, trippy, squirrels, OCD, IKEA and mummified remains: That should give you enough to chew on until you get the album into your hands.
My guess is that we're about three years away from doctors revealing the truth that over-exposure to Tetrabromobisphenol-A in our computers significantly adds to intensified OCD behaviors in the greater human population. More and more people seem to be checking and re-checking burners, locks and car alarms, and every-bloody-thing we come across apparently needs categorization and its own tidy place on a very special shelf in a particular part of our homes that by God better not move an inch, or there'll be Hell to pay. And with joints like IKEA offering up Shitstöörers™ and Drekkståckers™ so perfectly suited to help organize all of our nutty kitsch, it's probably only a matter of time before the next evolutionary step results in humans developing a giant, bushy squirrel's tail to swish in the wind as we continue to classify, correlate and cache all our beloved little kernels.
Hell, not even our music collections are safe from such squirrelish behavior. Just watch your local metal nerd rock back and forth like a mental patient in his/her IKEA Seatonmyärse™ when something comes across their ears that doesn't quite fit within an already intensely-calculated, neat & tidy genre mold. Which begs the question, what's to be done with albums like The Captain's Daughter from bands like Portland's Eight Bells? Just what kind of nut are these hooligans trying to throw at us? Do we bury it under the porch? By the old oak? Near the mailbox?? Beside the gruesomely mummified remains of poor Mrs. Whotheshitinski in the garden next door???
WE CANNOT COMPROMISE OUR LIBRARIES WITH YET-TO-BE-DETERMINED GENRES, YOU MONSTERS.
*Files under rock*
But that in and of itself is a beautiful concept worthy of celebrating; not everything fits into a nice & tidy box, and Eight Bells successfully reinforces that thought. Rock, psych, drone, prog, metal: It's all here for the taking. If you happen to already be familiar with two of the members' previous showing, SubArachnoid Space (whose swan song birthed the snazzy name for this project), I'd say there's a proper chance you'll recognize this latest endeavor as a very logical next step. There's plenty of savory psychedelic spill-over nestled about these four tunes, and the overall fare remains primarily instrumental and 'progressively slanted,' so I suppose we'll just go ahead and get that "post-" bullet locked & loaded. But if you're looking to me to tell you how much The Captain's Daughter sounds like something from Pelican, Cult of Luna, or any of the other stacks of "post-" bands that struck it rich back around the start of the 21st century, I ain't your guy, because I missed virtually every one of those buses. I'm intensely aware that quite a few folks spent those years gobbling down anything that moved and flashed that particular tag, however, (oh, and imagine the distress involved when they discovered The Postman had nothing to do with drawn-out crescendo-ing rock and everything to do with Kevin Costner schlepping through a post-Apocalyptic mail route, only to witness Tom Petty lording himself over an ewok village atop some stupid dam) and I'm comfortable enough with my knowledge of the general "post-" axioms to state that if that sort of thing properly blows your hair astern, you'd be wise to hear Eight Bells' floating interpretation of the blueprint.
So yes, goddammit, I'd say "post-" is surely an element here, but I'd also say The Captain's Daughter folds in a stronger emphasis on trippy darkness compared to the same old offenders, and there are moments where things get thoroughly heated & heavy, so the metallers' appeal is definitely on the radar. "Fate and Technology," in particular, is the tune most likely to windmill the longhairs, as it starts off at a nice galloping clip and eventually bolts into an all-out battle during the closing minute. It's also the sole cut to really showcase bassist Haley Westiener's voice, which proves itself to be a very suitable and elegant companion to the mellow stretch, and a surprisingly sharp boost to the song's violent end.
The rest of the fare feels less flat-out metallic, but the twists and turns down all manner of avenues are no less compelling, particularly with regard to the album's most motley 12+ minute centerpiece that works in bits and pieces of nearly everything under the sink. But even with all its encompasing moods, the entire collection flows together seamlessly, so expect to take the full half-hour trip each time the album drops into your player.
Truthfully, there are enough gravy moments that poetic waxing could quickly run beyond what's really necessary. Melynda's trippy and often pretty fretwork properly inhabits a lion's share of the spotlight, but bassist Haley Westiener and drummer Christopher van Huffel (also of SubArachnoid Space) also get ample opportunity to shine, particularly during the album's busier moments. And a special tip of the hat is owed to Billy Anderson for another beauty of a production/engineering job that makes it all the more easy for us to hear these fine players honing their craft.
Posty, proggy, dark, droney, heavy, mellow, trippy, squirrels, OCD, IKEA and mummified remains: That should give you enough to chew on until you get the album into your hands. Ultimately, I'd say The Captain's Daughter represents precisely the sort of record we might have covered under the old 'MetalReview' banner that brought to light brilliant lashes from anonymous ballbags along the lines of "I thought this were METAL review when you gonna review the latest WITCHBANGER album you idiots." And you know, sure, this release ain't exactly cannibals in chainmail burning down churches, but it's a dark, sometimes glassy-smooth, sometimes turbulent, often emotionally heavy trip that should appeal to anyone who digs great music - it's as simple as that.
-1 point for keeping things so brief, Eight Bells; thirty minutes goes by too quickly.