With their first release since 2006, An Albatross decided to get serious: they spent five weeks in the studio with a team of ex-members, new players, and studio musicians to create the concept record An Albatross Family Album. Whats it sound like, you ask? Like a noise band doing it with a math rock group while a cartoon donkey watches.
This is spastic stuff, under the pretense of a collaborative masterpiece. Fifteen seconds into the record, Eddie Gieda is screaming like hes on fire but doesnt want it put out. Its noise rock at its heart, with a layering of cartoony weirdness and atmospheric keyboards over the top, like The Jesus Lizard on acid. The keyboards sometimes take a prominent role in the melodic development, somehow reminding me of The Murder City Devils - not in sound, but in how they are used. In And Now Emerges the Silver Pilgrim, the keyboards are replaced with horns, but they serve largely the same purpose - perhaps a little more on the complementary side than melody. On The Psychonaut & the Rustbelt, there is a cartoony, Mr. Bungle sound driving the madness.
But right when youve got An Albatross pegged as a noisier Blood Brothers, they run out a six-minute noise piece like The Hymn of the Angel People that exhibits that they do, in fact, have an attention span. Mine, however, gets short around the point where the spoken word kicks in. But theyre onto something here, they know the limits of a longer piece and, rather than keep the song dragging into a murky eleven minute catnap, they keep it relatively concise and jump back to the crazy. Considering the family concept of the album and the serious studio time that went into making it, its impressive that the band shows such restraint. They tend to keep to the hyper-caffeinated style over the course of the record, but in the closing monster 3,000 Light Years By Way of the Spacehawk, theres an epic buildup leading to a climax that sounds like The Minibosses covering Supernaut.
Its good, energetic noisy rock that, despite all the seriousness surrounding the recording process, doesnt take allow pretension to overshadow the music. The record is short and largely maintains a non-stop, pounding tempo throughout, which makes it a little samey and difficult to differentiate songs. From what I gather, An Albatross are a mediocre band on record and a fun one live.
Unfortunately, Eyeball Records doesnt feel that reviewers need proper cover art, track listings, or lyrics so I cant bother with any additional depth.
7.0 / 10
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