Para Siempre (Small Stone)
by Craig Regala
I like the 2/12 records I have from this band, but I’ve missed the past couple and some developments that’ve led to this. Para… is a tasty melange of apres Sonic Youth, post-rock, Midwestern art drill which has absorbed the potential for shifting nervous rikky-ticky rhythm from the side of drum’n’bass that veered away from diva-dance to a moody sting that emotionally links with the noirish mid-’90s side of trip-hop to electro-dub, cool trick for a non-dance, non-“industrial/Goth” unit, eh? A real band working over ideas and absorbing nutrients from wherever while keeping their focus. I don’t have much patience for “art rock,” I don’t “work at listening,” I don’t listen to “concepts.” I don’t handicap because something is “different.” If it hits the ear and stays, that’s all that matters.
These people put over a clear-eyed melancholy as well as Pantera gets anger across, a hard emotion to nail without being simpy, self-pitying or singer/songwriter “introspective.” That shit makes my ass itch. The “rock” tones and feel reminds me of a couple not-so-well-known-but-valuable units: Run-On and Scrawl, both of whom dragged indie rock into the adult real world, apparently where its fan base was not. I’d love to see Morsel play with Poem Rocket and Blonde Redhead, or whoever works up an active brew with basic instrumentation that doesn’t fit into one of the six or so marketing slots bands are shunted into. This is a good disc, well-constructed, with a controlled, melodic voice cooly riding the droning, plunking, strumming, and pulsing flow these guys use to make music well within “rock” parameters if Pere Ubu, Can, Mercury Rev, The Faithhealers, Tortoise, Chrome, Radiohead, The Raincoats, My Bloody Valentine, Brick Layer Cake and Stereolab register within the taped-off area. Chuck a bit of non-rock stuff in there too: say Ruby, Björk, Moby, and The Grassy Knoll for flavor and the multiple function of rhythm and refracted beat, but only that. The cut “Sines” has it all: vocal line, as implicit hook (her phrasing’s perfect), chiming guitar accents, gently-placed feedback, and a payoff bridge/outro. A goddamn champange-soaked chilled peach of a tune.
(PO Box 02007 Detroit, MI 48202)