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Time of Orchids: Namesake Caution

Now this is something completely different for Cuneiform Records. The label, mostly known for backing artists squarely in the avant-garde/eclectic prog/jazz end of the spectrum, have snared this New York City outfit Time of Orchids for their fifth release, titled Namesake Caution. Channeling a vision that is part post-rock darkness, occasional jaunts into Syd Barrett era Pink Flord, heaping amounts of Beach Boys styled breezy pop, the cacophony of Mr. Bungle or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and just enough bits of avant-garde that you hear in the music of Thinking Plague as well as Yes styled symphonic prog to keep things interesting. In other words, Namesake Caution is avant-indie rock for a new generation, music so hard to classify that it will equally frustrate as much as satisfy. Instrumentation at times is dense, as the mix is loaded with fluttering keyboard textures, jangly guitar patterns that occasionally burst forward with metallic fury, lazy drum licks, and plenty of melodic vocal layers. A tune like "Crib Tinge to Callow" probably best exemplifies the style of Time of Orchids, as waves of sunny vocal melodies combat rippling guitar chords, beefy bass grooves, and proggy keyboards, as the arrangement rocks back and forth betwen pop grandeur, bombastic avant-prog, and minimalist post-rock. The vocals of Chuck Stern, who also adds in keyboards & guitar, and Eric Fitzgerald, also on guitar, really are what makes this album in the long run, as the two weave all sorts of catchy, memorable, and alluring harmonies on most of these songs, with the dense, often times intricate instrumentation being the icing on the cake. It doesn't always work however, as the band's foray into apocalyptic post-rock on "Meant (Hush-Hush)" and Floydian soundscapes on "Darling Abandon" tend to meander just a tad. Overall, Namesake Caution is a pretty fascinating listen, and a good pick up for Cuneiform Records, who should be able to market these guys to the Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, and Mr. Bungle fanbase.

Track Listing
1. In Color Captivating
2. Windswept Spectacle
3. Darling Abandon
4. Parade of Seasons
5. The Only Thing
6. Gem
7. Crib Tinge to Callow
8. Meant (Hush-Hush)
9. We Speak in Shards
10. Entertainment Woes

Added: October 15th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Cuneiform Records
Hits: 2911
Language: english

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