Saturday, August 3, 2013

Up From the Underground: Liquid Casing-" Seperate/Divide"

This Texas quartet whips up an interesting blend of  jazzy post-hardcore. With a  guitar tone  best served generously dipped in reverb.  The guitar playing is smart, driving  the songs but  spacious enough to allow things like sax to come and create a very David Lynchian soundtrack to long night of  drugged delusions in the desert.

Liquid Casing forsakes convention a kick out the jams, not in the Mc5 manner but as in a free flowing jam band, like on the song ''Alambrista". If you had to slap a more modern label on this I'm sure post- rock could apply as the guitar takes to those types of swell. The sax tends to sit where a guitar solo should.

The raspy vocals often feel too rock n roll for the spastic grooves dancing around them, even when things get heavier like on " Finger Tip Armada" , for these guys heavy is more of a matter of sonic intensity. The more hypnotic grooves summoned up on " The line which divides" shows their more satisfying darker side. The Saxophone layers melody over the restless water creating an excellent juxtaposition in dynamics. This type of focus seems to not retain the same solidity when the guitars are looking to work around the vocals , even in cases where they are less intrusive like the ten minute " For a Memory Erased".

Jazz influence abounds on this album, which make the progressive elements seem more natural, since progressive rock has always been more of a marriage between jazz and classical than having anything to do with rock when you think back to bands like King Crimson. Here like that era of prog, the rock element is more of a dynamic by-product.

There is a Pinback styled groove to "Non-Linear Solution" that creates a prevasive backdrop for the sax and lets the bass player show their chops. The album ebbs and flows into more introspective landscapes with "Check Points and Borders". The vocals here, are a much lower register version of where Mars Volta used to go, as they relax into more of a croon. After the keyboard crescendo of that song arises a more 70's prog boogie in "An End to a Means", the bassist has room here to take some liberties and turn fills into almost a solo but it is done in a tasteful manner .

The closing number "Riot Path" doesn't start off with the Moltov being slung like it's name suggests, instead with a drugged sway, that lulls you into the reverb injected guitars. I think my favorite vocal melody on the album lies on this song , and makes me wish this sort of thing had been employed more through out the album.

 If you are looking for organic sax fueled prog , this is your ticket. I'll give it an 8 out of 10, excellent just wish the vocals had figured out where they wanted to go before the last couple of songsm but would expect this band to hit big on the festivals stages,

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