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Cheer-Accident: Putting Off Death

Running a website like Sea of Tranquility for so many years, you eventually get to a point where you start to really know the record labels and their rosters pretty closely, so much so that even when you hear a band you instantly think "yep, that's certainly a 'blank' band". It's the first thing that popped into my head while spinning the latest release from Chicago avant-garde/prog-rock veterans Cheer-Accident, titled Putting Off Death...they are just so 'Cuneiform Records' in every fashion. If you aren't familiar with the awesome folks at Cuneiform, they specialize in acts who stray far from the mainstream, and have adopted an experimental edge that doesn't quite fit into any one container or category, but have embraced elements of jazz, progressive rock, avant-garde, and electronica, among other styles. Cheer-Accident are perfect examples of a Cuneiform band, and their latest release Putting Off Death, their first album in six years (18th overall) and third for the label, once again defies classification, and keeps the listener on their toes every step of the way.

As you can see by the list of musicians below, Cheer-Accident have a core line-up but utilize many guest to help create their eclectic sound, that core being Jeff Libersher, Thymme Jones, Dante Kester, and Amelie Morgan, the latter who regularly plays keyboards, writes and sings, but doesn't actually appear on this album as a performer. The 11+minute opener "Language" reminded me a bit of Mike Keneally's solo material, minus the wild guitar meanderings, with a touch of The Beatles, before some intricate horns and dissonant arrangements took over in the final minutes. "Immanence" again features some nice pop melodies, while "Wishful Breathing" is more avant-garde in nature with some classical leanings, Kester's bass playing a large role amid layers of vocals, percussion, and sound effects. Menacing synth effects and gritty guitar lines permeate the ominous "Falling World", as prog and electronica collide with jazzy trumpet for a completely different listening experience, and the spirit of Frank Zappa seems to loom on the futuristic and somewhat jazzy sounds of "More and Less". Putting Off Death's most accessible moments come on the lovely "Lifetime Guarantee", the closest the album comes to straight prog-rock with a touch of pop, as crisp guitar riffs, horns, keys, and layers of vocals create memorable hooks and a can't miss arrangement. When the band throws in some wild Zappa-meets-King Crimson zaniness in the mid section, it will throw you for a complete loop but show just how many tricks this band has up their sleeve. Easily an album highlight. "Hymn" closes things out, another dreamy jazz/pop/prog piece with a strong Jones vocal and calming synths.

For those with an adventurous ear, Putting Off Death will reveal many rewards and show a band that aren't afraid to go off into many different directions. It might not be for everyone, but then again, that's probably the case with much of the music coming out of Cuneiform Records. My recommendation is to open up your horizons, and don't miss out on some truly terrific and original music.

Jeff Libersher guitar, trumpet, vocals, keyboards
Dante Kester bass, keyboards
Thymme Jones drums, vocals, piano, trumpet, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, moog, noise
Carmen Armillas vocals
Mike Hagedorn trombone
Teria Gartelos vocals
Sacha Mullin vocals
Cory Bengtsen baritone sax
Beth Yates flute
Julie Pomerleau violin
Joan Morrone french horn
Ross Feller tenor sax
Rob Pleshar tubaTodd Fackler tuba

Track Listing
1. Language Is 11:24
2. Immanence 04:12
3. Wishful Breathing 03:45
4. Falling World 03:40
5. More And Less 03:00
6. Lifetime Guarantee 06:59
7. Hymn 05:11

Added: June 4th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 2019
Language: english

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