Monday, February 23, 2009

The Second Family Band - Our Way is the Right Way (Housecraft CS)

Another Housecraft release, this time out from Wisconsin residents Second Family Band (good time for a cheesy joke, no?). This mysterious clan has more members than I can count, but as far as I can tell they sure as hell aren't all playing on this little 19-minute jammer documenting a live show from December 1st. Seems like this is more a communal tag and is probably one of those situations where whoever shows up shows up, which judging by this recording sounds like a great situation for all invovled.

The name of the game here seems to be weird pseudo-prog synth moves along with clattering rhythms, all torched down via handheld cassette recorder. The first side, "Taking Cloud Mountain," has some steady tribal style drumming, using the pulse as a nice means of keeping things moving along without overtly grabbing onto any cliched sound sources. That the synth underneath is as tonal as it is makes for a strange combination, especially buried beneath the piles of muck bestowed upon it by the tape. This is definitely a band who uses the recording style to their advantage--would be curious to know just what this sounded like without it in fact, can't really imagine it... anyway, things just hover along nice and patient-like for a while here, drifting through little pockets of two chord moves and odd little background buzzes. Not unlike a basement version of the Eno album that the title seems to play off of actually, at least in terms of sound sources and the way they use these super subtle little echoes to round out the sound as a whole.

Second side's called "Return of the Native," and this time around the band opt for some darker territories while still tending the same field of drumming pulses and synth riffery. Half of the synth here sounds like some ELP side taken out of context, smooshed between about eight layers of hiss, and played over consistently driving hand drums. It's a really unique and weird combo, and when exploring darker territory like this the whole thing together really reads more like some odd soundtrack for some super cult horror flick set in Milan, 1980. Very strange stuff indeed, but not without a certain sense of odd grooveology and psychedelically inclined aesthetics. Simple meets complex, you know? Like some burned to ash Camembert Electrique... camembert... Wisconsin... see, it's all coming together. Another winner from the Housecraft vault and special mentions got to made of the beautiful insert card and cassette itself. Front half is this rich sky blue and the back is totally clear--mindbogglingly good!

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