Ring, Cicada | History’s End (s/r)

cd_ring-cicada.jpgChris Powell’s voice cuts above the mix so clearly, sounding a little less like Black Francis and a little more like Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a biased writer. I have been waiting for this collection of material to be released for five years. Two years ago I got my first glimmer of hope that it would see the light of day via three tracks on their MySpace, from The Deuce, which was set to "drop" in 2007. Ring, Cicada is one of those "quasi-local" bands by way of being from Collinsville, Ill. I have the kind of pride in them that some Rams fans had in Kurt Warner leading into February 1.

You see, Ring, Cicada takes everything I have ever loved about hard rock, math rock and progressive rock, and in true bistate region tradition, put giant tractor wheels and a crazy hydraulic suspension underneath. To me, they are the coolest monster truck of rock ever, but for the History’s End model, they tricked it out with a convertible hard top, and if you hit some switches, it becomes a low-rider. Chris Powell has grown as a vocalist, and his presence adds all the more energy. His voice cuts above the mix so clearly, sounding a little less like Black Francis and a little more like Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk on Diary and LP2.

What is really amazing is how much tighter the band is here. They still lean on instrumentals to carry the heft of the album, making sure there are enough hooks, embellishments and creativity to snatch your attention away from whatever you’re doing once you’re lucky enough to start listening to History’ End. They were seamless before, but now theirs a smoothness to their chops. On "Good Morning, Mr. Good," time signatures came and went like dynamic mood swings: orderly, but abruptly. Now they switch gears and literally genres mid-song in the most natural of ways. It’s to music what string theory is to physics. It’s not overdone or overwhelming, like Mars Volta or Mastodon can be. It’s powerful music, intergalactic space shootout or post-apocalyptic car chase level energy. And yet there’s balance in History’s End between how impressive it is, and its immediate accessibility. Every tone, vocal, lead and rhythm guitar, bass and drums are given space, sounding developed and brilliant. They obviously took their time…and got it right. Well Worth the Wait. A+ | Willie E. Smith

RIYL: Modern: Explosions in the Sky, Mars Volta, Mastodon, vintage Mogwai, Sunny Day Real Estate, Further Seems Forever

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