11. November 2008

Sphericube - Jugda (2008) & Demo (2003)

"Post-rock, once a term brought to life to label bands who where re-inventing the rock scene in a strange age - one dominated by Generation X, the nineties. A first generation of post-rock bands took rock to an almost lost form of crafting music, free of sales figures, boardroom-imposed attitudes, and hipness. They inspired a whole new generation that was in need of guidance... a second generation of bands charted the genre and spread the word, and soon this train is unstoppable! As time passed, the second generation drew out the details of this new uncharted continent and provided a sturdy home base for new explorers to follow in their predecessors footsteps. Nowadays, a third generation of post-rock explorers is surfacing and aim to amaze us with their crucible of influences that are no longer subjected to genres as we knew them. Sphericube is one of those third generation bands, and their self-released debut Jugda is the map of their Slovenian settlement.

Most of the times when I listened to Jugda a slight cold shiver ran over my spine before the first minute was over. Plucked violin strings and delightfully reverbed guitars paving the way for a few raising hairs, hooks that sound more like faint bends made some intriguing, yet minimal, shifts that promised me that I was in for some skilled compositions. The drum suggested that I should tighten my laces, I would be in for a serious round of foot tapping. Then the minute was over... the singer wailed himself into Emergency Lane like a siren that rubbed more Thom Yorke in my face than Radiohead is capable of. Now, for the record, Thom Yorke has some brilliant vocal chords, Radiohead has some beautiful tracks, but I've had it with their knock-off sound ever since OK Computer. This is the main issue I have with Jugda, every once in a while the shiver down my spine was provoked by my loathing of repetition. Despite my issues, I noticed my foot found his groove back and I decided to indulge myself in the extraordinary blend of wailing vocals and, what sounds like, a borrowed drum computer of Björk's on a canvas of post-rocking melancholy with strokes of jazz.

Sphericube has a profound web of influences and techniques which they tap into, staccato practice of the guitars and drums make up for an energising combination even when there's not much energy at the surface. Damping techniques with origins in reggae and brit-pop are put into well considered use just as most of the sampling. Kudos for the work at the mixing desk when it comes to the placement of samples along side of the 'classical' instrumentation, not an easy task but well mastered in a manner that allows you to enjoy every soundwave at hand. Perfectly timed crunch on the drums, just the right tone settings for the deeper, hypnotic riffs make each track an exhilarating listen. But this being their debut, an error was almost inevitable.

As if Sphericube was too excited to think about it, they forgot one important thing when it comes to making an album, cohesion. At best, a collection of tracks by one band resembles a retirement 'best of...' album, the lack of a decent transition in between tracks is disturbing. If they had made the effort to make this 45 minute compilation into an exploration of an hour, this could've been closer to an 8/10. Taking the time for an intro and/or outro would give the listener the time to acclimatize from the previous track in stead of been thrown into the next one like a child thrown into the deep end of a pool for the first time. If they manage to keep their compositions of the same quality and take this advice in consideration for their follow up, I'm sure it'll be a stunning release. For the time being, Jugda will stay an appetizer of Sphericube's fully deployed glory."
-Jurgen Verhasselt (The Silent Ballet)

Genre: Post Rock, Experimental
320 & 192 kbit/s (CBR)


Slovenian Review

Download "Lack Of Cover (Demo) (2003)"
Download "Jugda (2008)"


PW: postrockcommunity.blogspot.com

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