So you're in a rock band and you already look different than other bands with your crazy hair and fingernail polish, but you want to sound different. So you add a keyboard to your band. Fucktacular, bro! In addition to adding a new instrument to a band, another option that The Pax Cecilia takes with Nouveau is to synthesize previously forged sounds into a more powerful...alloy if you will. Nouveau is essentially a fusion of metal and screamo/post rock. Does this new birth fit into "amazing" or some other huge word that kids throw around because they have no degree of critical thinking? No. Does the dripping placenta leave residue of goodness and genetics of palpable genres? Yes. It's different enough where it won't contain itself in one genre but not so different where it's like rap to rock. But the side effect of all of this forgery is a scent of pretentious scoffing.
Nouveau, I'm assuming, is meant to be taken as a concept album. As you open the liner notes you'll read, "Nouveau/A Theatre of the Air/performed by the Pax Cecilia," with a breakdown of acts, scenes and cast that fills the "play". While this is an awesome idea, the execution is like a body after being cut in two by a guillotine, not very cohesive. It appears the overall theme is that of love relationships. The lyrics are scattered and awkward. While awkward does have its place in writing, it's just too much on Nouveau. Take this snippet in "An Aurora: The Crux Candide" for example "and yes, Jesus saves. Yes, Jesus saves, especially with his platinum card." On its own that might make sense, but in the context of the song it becomes even more confusing. Some lines before it's talking about "electric light passions" and blushing while looking in the moon. Or in the song "England; Theatre of the Air," this part is supposedly meant to be dramatic: "as she was swarmed onto the train car, he saw her hand waving, and her voice shouting 'you will take half of me with you!' and he whispered back to her 'girl, you've got all of me. girl, you've got all of me.'" Without boring you with anymore quotes, I don't think the lyrics work. Or I just don't get it.
Chances are you don't care about all of that. Because it's the music that matters most. Ignoring all the lyrical grievances I have, Nouveau provides some rock fucking music and some classical influenced cr00sh music. For the metal side of things check "Beneath Every Powerline There Is Still a Graveyard," with a those melodic metal riffs that spin your head around like in the Exorcist. Without the cross being shoved inside your pussy though. The sound is very similar to that of Dispensing of False Halos, obviously metal influenced but fragmented high whelps and twinkly screamo melodies are tossed in for good measure. What really separates The Pax Cecilia from Dispensing of False Halos is the classical/post rock type parts. Instruments, such as a flute, piano and cello, grace these beautiful outings. One of the biggest surprises is that there are singing parts over it. Not the emotionally driven whiny vocals that seem to be in every new "screamotional," band, but actually well done vocals. Considering how picky I am with that stuff usually, I'm surprised how much I enjoy them. The female ones in "Opening Monologue" are especially pretty.
The recording and mixing is also well done. Considering on their website they offer the CD for free, I'm assuming the budget wasn't that high. Well, it sounds great to me. Every note, snare hit and key that's pressed passionately on the piano, ring out where you can hear what's being played.
Originally this CD was sent to me as a demo submission, but Nouveau is way too complete sounding for that, so I reviewed it like a regular album. If bands like Dispensing of False Halos and Yuriko interest you, The Pax Cecilia will forever be imbedded in your skull. When I say skull, I mean CD player, because you won't want to stop playing it. Unless you want to put it in your skull. That's okay. Just remember to bring a violin.
7.5 / 10
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