When Cave In went on hiatus, who would have thought that the principal players would all decide to throw down "solo" records? Steve Brodsky had been doing it for a while, but with Caleb Scofield's Zozobra and now Adam McGrath's Clouds, they are turning out a bunch of material apart from each other. Clouds is completely confounding. If you ever watched the DVD that came with Cave In's Antenna, you might recall the mentioning of McGrath's obsession with The Rolling Stones. I expected something bluesy but what I hear is a kick in the ass.
Legendary Demo is most definitely a rock and roll record of the utmost degree. It slinks and oozes like a listener would hope for out of record like that. The bluesy guitars and shouted vocals imprint the whole record with a swagger befitting of criminals and nere do wells. It is what parents in the fifties and sixties feared when rock and roll was new and fresh. "New Amnesia" is an all out ass shaking affair. "Pressure"'s call and response recalls the stadium rock and sing along qualities that would fit in the aforementioned nascent beginnings of rock music. The groove it has is unbelievably catchy. "Live It for Now" changes the pace a bit and serves up a short shock of blazing no frills testosterone. "Guardian's Eyes" has a disgustingly fuzzed out bass sound. It beefs up and drives the song perfectly. "Magic Hater" gives a similar proto punk feel to the listener that "Live It for Now" does, until the song breaks down into an insane boogie that is only missing an old organ accompaniment, which, coincidentally might make this song perfect. The freak-out that the song dives into kicks "Magic Hater" into the stratosphere. The bulk of Legendary Demo's running time is generated by "Quartulli Dub." This is almost twenty minutes of left field bizarre sound that blows your mind. I definitely cannot explain it any better than that, some people might call it excessive, but honestly, the album could not be tied off correctly without it.
All I can say about Clouds and their Legendary Demo is Adam McGrath, you sly dog you. How in the hell did you manage to make such a dangerous sounding and nostalgic record? Clouds channel the spirit of The Rolling Stones and The Stooges at times into a short, concise record that riles you up in a similar way to those bands' bodies of work of old. In any case, I might say that this is essential for this year, but I digress. Legendary Demo is brash enough and rocks hard enough for it to be essential listening at least once in even the most jaded individual's lifetime. It really is too bad it is only eight songs, but that does leave you wanting more. So, to all the lovers and denizens of no frills rock and roll, find this record and listen to it. It might be the best album of this type this year.
It's quite an interesting experience to hear the whole of Cave In broken down into its different parts, in a manner of speaking that is. Since the band has gone on hiatus, the members of Cave In have continued their musical outfit through a variety of sources. Vocalist Stephen Brodsky has been continuing to release material under his solo name as well as The Octave Museum. Earlier this year, bassist Caleb Scofield teamed up with his Old Man Gloom co-conspirator Santos Montano to release Zozobra's debut full-length. And here we have guitarist Adam McGrath's new project, Clouds, and their debut full-length, Legendary Demo. And while combining all the recent "solo" efforts of the members of Cave In may not yield the musical ideals of the whole, the sound of the final product makes a lot more sense once you hear the individual outputs.
It doesn't take long after popping Legendary Demo into your CD player to realize that this is not Cave In, but you certainly understand where the more rock-n-roll approach of the band's later years comes from. McGrath gets help from a team of talented individuals: Jim Carroll, who spent time in the highly toted hardcore act The Suicide File, splits guitar and vocal duties with McGrath. Jay Cannava, who is a member of 27, delivers the low-end. And the mysterious Q drums - I have no idea who he is but I'm sure he was in a fairly popular Boston-based metal or hardcore band at one time or another.
"New Amnesia" opens the effort and the listener is immediately hit with some serious rock action; we're talking 70's rock brought back to life. This is followed up by "Pressure," which is a nice mixture of skate punk and stoner rock - the result is quite reminiscent of Fu Manchu. "Live It for Now" picks up the pace even more; the song seems to draw heavily from early hardcore punk. This isn't to say it's a straight up 1981 hardcore tune, but its quite obvious that this era of music had a major impact on the band's sound.
"Party Grunge" has an uncanny Led Zeppelin tone to its guitars. "Guardian's Eye" is another adventure in the realm of fast-paced stoner rock. This song had me referencing Kyuss quite a bit. "Magic Hater" brings back that early 80's hardcore sound for the first minute, then the song heads off the deep-end into a laid-back rock mood for over four minutes - there are some wicked guitar solos worked in as well. Legendary Demo concludes with "Quartulli Dub." The song, which clocks in at over nineteen minutes, is a mixture of prog, jazz, and psychedelic rock and is highlighted by the saxophone playing of guest Tom Quartulli.
Earlier this year McGrath described Clouds to The Boston Phoenix in the following manner: "There's definitely some hardcore songs on the Clouds album, but I have the Beatles' 'White Album' attitude toward everything, where I want to do all of my favorite styles of music." That is as good a description of this album as I have heard. In fact, that one sentence is probably a more accurate description than my review, so just go with it instead.
7.75 / 10
Reviewed by 2 writers.
Posted Dec. 18, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
Atmospheric doom band Clouds have joined Domestic Genocide Records. Their label debut, Doliu, will come out next year, with additional details coming at a later date. Clouds is a collective ...
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