Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The Appleseed Cast - Peregrine

The Appleseed Cast
The Militia Group, 2006

For: Midwestern emo kids that grew up to despise that word, but will always have a soft spot for "Marigold and Patchwork" and "Parking Lot."
Sounds Like: The Appleseed Cast, desperately trying to find their sound again.
Listen: The Appleseed Cast - Ceremony

In 2001, The Appleseed Cast seemed poised to be the Radiohead of Midwestern independent music. Starting out accessible and largely derivative of their music scene, then becoming more experimental before releasing a near perfect, unique, breathtaking album, which was quickly followed by a leftovers LP. Two Conversations, however, was no Hail to the Thief, especially coming off the heels of a double album as great as Low Level Owl.

This album is filled with the sounds of a band trying to find their footing and craft their own sound, so much so that this sounds more like a first album than a sixth. The album opens strong with the great, dynamic post-rock-y instrumental "Ceremony," before fading into the faux lo-fi beginning of "Woodland Hunter (Part 1)," which recalls a spacey cover of Bright Eyes' "If Winter Ends." The difference between these two tracks is representative of not only the album, but the band's career itself; there seems to be a conscious struggle to figure out whether expressing emotions is best done through impassioned, slightly off-key vocals, or through crushing instrumentals.

The album hits its stride around the middle, with the three song run of "February," "An Orange and a Blue," and "Song 3." Here, AC keeps a consistent, powerful sound, making great compromise between their two M.O.s. "February" is a great example of where emo can lead a band if they are capable and open enough to see it beyond the standard format (and, I wager, would have been a prized 7" if released in 1996). "An Orange and a Blue" drops the vocals and sets up a build reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky's more recent work. "Song 3" completes the synthesis with an instrumentally carried vocal track, with Chris Crisci's vocals getting drenched in reverb and dropped low in the mix.

The conspicuous absence of dynamo drummer Cobra is notable on this album, especially on cuts where AC's new spin on "experimentation" include chopping up sampled drum tracks (most notably on "Here We Are (Family in the Hallway)"). The drumming remains powerful, but nothing that really recalls the pummeling force on their past records.

As a whole, Peregrine is a worthy effort, and a small step up from 2003's unfairly maligned Two Conversations. It may be far away from the greatness of Low Level Owl, but still shows the seeds of another something great in the band's future.



Post a Comment

<< Home