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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dredg -- The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion


"To sacrifice oneself never made sense to me," goes the first line of Dredg's The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion. Considering that I believe self-sacrifice to be the highest expression of love, I immediately get the feeling that this Dredg album and I are not going to get along. "There's no guarantee of a god or longevity/admit you don't know anything/and give it up," singer Gavin Hayes belts later in the album. Well, I strongly disagree with that, but to each his own, I guess. So what am I supposed to give my belief up for? Album climax, "Quotes," offers up the obvious answer: "Our sobriety will diminish/discriminate we fade slow, fade slow/these drugs will expand us/united we will grow/let go, let go, let go." Oh, cool, I've got it, drugs. Oh well, I guess I am not going to get any lyrical enjoyment out of this album whatsoever. Let's move on to the music of The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion, I guess?
Let's check out the first song, "Pariah." Hmmm. Finger-snapping and children singing. A poppy chorus and white-person half-rapping. A scat-singing outro. Not good. I did not sign on for this. "Drunk Slide." A decent segue, but really just aping what worked on El Cielo. "Ireland." The best part is the verse, which is just a direct ripoff of El Cielo's "Triangle." "Light Switch." I can dig this. Weird western vibe, seventies-ish chorus. Weird mish mish, but it works. Nice outro, too. Reminiscent of their old stuff, but still sounds new. "Gathering Pebbles." Weird western vibe, too. Really poppy, kind of seventies chorus again. Strangely works. Dredg sound best when they are mysterious. This is. "Information." This intro is just Dredg's score from the movie Waterbourne, but it's pretty awesome. The entirely original song they craft around it is excellent. Really beautiful stuff. Dredg at their peak. Interesting instrumentation, a slight pop edge, but a pleasing one. Suprising bridge, too. Easily the best moment of the album.

"Saviour." Who is supposed to enjoy this? It sounds like someone pulled the band Survivor out of retirement and asked them to record the cheesiest thing they could think of. As my nephew would say, EPIC FAIL. "RUOK?" Cool little instrumental. Wish it was on a better album. "I Don't Know." It's the lead single, and a synth bass is the lead instrument. In the past, this might have been a Dredg b-side. "Mourning This Morning." Why didn't someone tell them this was a really dumb name for a song? Takes the 70's influence to the limit. Actually not that bad. "Long Days and Vague Clues," sounds like music for a chase scene in a toddler's cartoon. That isn't a compliment. "Cartoon Showroom." A really gentle song, but I dig it. Just light guitar, subtle, mystical noises, great singing from Gavin. A highlight, for me, at least. "Quotes." All the guitar catharsis one would want from a Dredg album, which is essentially absent from the rest of the album. Unfortunately, it comes at the service of the stupidest song on TPTPTD, unless you really, really like drugs, in which case you probably haven't made it this far into the review. "Down to the Celler." An okay closing instrumental. Might work a little better if it was earned at all. I didn't even mention the "Stamp of Origin" tracks because they are just filler-waste. At the point of this release, this is the most I have ever been disappointed with an album in my life.

2009 Ohlone Recordings
1. Pariah 4:07
2. Drunk Slide 1:27
3. Ireland 3:41
4. Stamp of Origin: Pessimistic 0:50
5. Lightswitch 3:30
6. Gathering Pebbles 4:59
7. Information 5:45
8. Stamp of Origin: Ocean Meets Bay 0:30
9. Saviour 3:56
10. R U O K? 2:12
11. I Don't Know 3:45
12. Mourning This Morning 5:41
13. Stamp of Origin: Take a Look Around 0:58
14. Long Days and Vague Clues 1:52
15. Cartoon Showroom 4:18
16. Quotes 6:04
17. Down to the Cellar 3:41
18. Stamp of Origin: Horizon 2:20

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