Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cellos on Doormat / Drawing Room Records


My parents randomly asked me what instrument I wanted to play when I was in elementary school and I ended up taking the cello for years. I had no idea I would be carrying around a giant upright bass almost the same size as me down the hallways. There was no thought behind it, no ambition to be a great cellist, it was completely at random I wound up playing this monstrosity in terrible recitals for years. I have a feeling that's how this three piece from Windsor Ontario picked the name 'Cellos' for their brand of late '90s power sludge. It's one of those meaningless monikers that's just a blank slate for the dread their about to put into it.

I never thought I'd still be thinking about some of the tracks from In The Meantime all these years later. Looking back during an era of my own Curennaissance it might have felt too precise or almost metal..both of which things I search out now so it was't Helmet's fault, just ruined after the fact by circumstance. It should have been a precursor to Don Cab's math rock and instrumental epic distortion of We Will Destroy You instead of headbashing 120 minutes. I'm definitely hearing elements of that classic now in A-Side's "Standard and Poor" from Cellos. This three piece manages to pound a lot of those similar jagged primal distortions out of the bass and guitar before you even factor in these heavy drums as this thing throbs towards an exit. "White Swans" has more of this thick guitar work that ramps up with a bright idea to plow through any variations. This sounds pretty separated vocally like they're up to weird tricks in the mix always beating to death their primitive beat, hitting as heard as possible while burying the vocals behind the static of an old telephone wire on the verse. Dissonant chords still ring out forcing the uglier side of things... even though this is recorded perfectly they want to play around within their cruddy precision.

B-Side's "Exodus" has a distanced drum kit performance in an empty cellar, Kyle's vocals crawl right into this louder space. This drum loop is some kind of exercise for the vocal to lead a creep feel. It goes from stark black and white to technicolor for the rest of the instrumentation to tear through the sideline banner, alternating between forceful gated strums and barred chords, letting loose and reigning it back in. Crispy distortions fade away at the end and this one seems to try out a few different paths on it's way to pounding out a slower beat. Sludgy and slow like a good Earth or Harvey Milk track, I can't deny loving those low end bellows from chords past the bottom of the neck, the drums keep up the tension while the guitar and bass scare you from behind. They must have gotten to that robot on the cover who is just a sad, sparking head now. Cellos has a completely different meaning.

Pick this up from Drawing Room / Doormat Records.

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