Thursday, 27 March 2014

Review: Cellarscape – 'The Act Of Letting Go'

'The Act Of Letting Go'

Paul Terry, AKA Cellarscape taps into that truly eccentric strain of alternative rock that seems woefully lacking these days. Like something between Beck and The Porcupine Tree; guitars, angular beats, and avant garde orchestral strains come together to create a genuinely interesting listening experiencing. Terry is able to blend truly experimental soundscapes with an old fashioned sense of pop appeal... which isn't as easy as it sounds.

The fifth Cellarscape album, 'The Act Of Letting Go' has a mournful but hopeful atmosphere. Orientated around light airy tracks that favour the acoustic guitar to take the lead, it is intimate and engaging from start to finish. Opening with the short but intriguing intro 'Iterations' the attention is immediately grabbed and capitalised upon by the wonderful bassline of 'Look Backwards, Lean Forwards'. Tracks such as 'Out Of My Hands', 'Keepsake', 'Diorama', 'Epinephrine' and 'Resolutions' provide the backbone of the album with their sumptuous blend of beats, strings, guitars and piano that recall the quieter moments of A Perfect Circle and the nostalgic psychedelia of The Beatles. However, The album's absolute stand-out track is the beautiful 'The Same Place' featuring the vocals of Dutch singer Anneke Van Giersbergen' who provides a perfect feminine counterbalance to Terry.

The production is clean and modern with the guitar and vocals taking prime position's in the mix while the guest instruments ebb and flow as they are needed to embellish the songs. Cut everything back though, and you still have a solid and intimate blend of guitar and voice powering the album. There are however one or two points where the vocals sound just a little two high in the mix compared to the instrumentation, which briefly detracts from the songs. But these are minor nit-picks.

Paul Terry has crafted a fine and honest album that is emotionally resonant and musically quite haunting. It is a brave clash of styles that will attract fans of progressive rock as well as those into the avant garde end of the pop spectrum. It would be nice though, to hear just how far Terry could push his experimental tendencies that 'Iterations' hinted at on the next album.

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