Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Volcano! - Paperwork (My 3barfire review)

I wrote this review for the excelent 3barfire check it out and here is the link to the artical...

I will put my un-edited raw version up here as a kind of DVD extra for the blog massive...

Chicago’s Volcano! Exploded onto the scene a few years ago with a monumental album called Beautiful Seizure, it was one of the most out there albums I had heard from a band in quite some time. It had deranged off the wall glitch ridden explosions of molten guitars with sporadic electronic sparks that shoot skywards, which was offset by the pure blissed out calm of meandering melodies and passion fuelled vocals. Some times it sounded like chaos, with the beats flailing in and out of time, then it would all just lock into place.

Paperwork is a slightly subtler affair than that, by subtle I mean they still let the bull loose in the china shop but this time they put corks on its horns. They still keep their free jazz noise rock mentalities but they slot them selves into a more straight forward power pop template, and at times they even start off sounding like a regular indie pop band before totally dismantling this notion in front of your very ears.

Paperwork is a wonderful piece of music that bustles with ideas and energy. The electronics are used to make a bit of a groove instead of the sporadic accenting of the first record. By making the beats more bumping Volcano! Have learnt how to dance and have channelled the melodrama into joy. One of the first things I have noticed is that the album is so much fun. Just check out the insane groove on ‘Sweet Tooth’ for proof.

The first single ‘Africa Just Wants To Have Fun’ starts with some electronic squiggles before a jazz beat kicks in and some energetic guitar melodies, which are joined by vocals that are as with a lot of Volcano! Tunes half obscured and not easy to hear; yet this doesn’t detract from the listening experience one little bit. It’s about how the lyrics are delivered much of the time.

Picking out a stand out is pretty hard as Paperwork is so consistent but if I had to choose one it would be ‘Palimpsests’ this means layers and Paperwork has many. The song opens with some solitary tapping of a snare rim and then a huge bass sound under lays the incredibly catchy vocals about getting up and having to go to work. This builds and builds in layers of sound to a crescendo. ‘Slow Jam’ is another top-notch song with tongue in cheek vocals about hot lovin’ with some very funky grooves and off kilter electronic noises.

The theme of the album seem to be the mundane day-to-day life of working in an office and having to fit into certain structures and finding ways of dealing with that then putting your own stamp on life. This is something many of us can relate to and Volcano! Make these subjects a joyous romp rather than a Monday morning drudge. It’s maybe to early to tell just yet but Volcano! May have topped Beautiful Seizure with Paperwork it’s more focused and fusses their obviously huge well of ideas into better songs than ever before.
nice ;)

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