Are You Ok? Damiera

May 27, 2009

old damiera

old damiera

 

Memorable post hardcore math rock doesn’t grow on trees these days.  At the fore front are certainly the boys in Damiera who have been at it for a couple years now (since 2005)  With an excellent starter ep and full length deput “M(us)ic” it seemed as though the group was ready for a new deserved level of respect. 

Enter problems.  “Quiet Mouth Loud Hands” their 2007 release, lets face it, is about 40 steps backwards and does everything to hurt what they had built previously.  Boring song structures, goofy lyrics, tame instrumentation and songs that lack their own flare often sounding like poor imatations of more popular acts (read as: Maroon 5 with something to prove).  This would be forgivable but its harder to ignore 4 line up changes in 4 years making it clear who the conductor of the train really is, guitar/vocalist Dave Raymond.  Not too mention getting dropped recently from Equal Vision (not that theres anyone good there besides Fall of Troy, still)

With all the ups and downs it would be way to easy to say that this would sign an end to a great band.  The question is more so can one man replace and replace without consequence? Its been done before so we’ll just have to wait and see what lies ahead.

ak

 

This new section is not ment to hurt or suggest that I do not like the mentioned band.  It is just to voice my opinion on some artists that once stood tall but I feel have started a downward spiral into flawed releases.  First up is the alternative psych folk band Akron/Family.

When i first heard Akron/Family it was in 2005 after the release of their self-titled full length, an impressive mix of classic psych rock with certainly some bedroom folk leanings heavily compared to Animal Collective.  Honestly what music wasn’t compared to Animal Collective then in 2005? Tracks like the “Running, Returning” and “Afford” off this self-titled remain some of their best work to date.  Even their split with Angels of Light (to which they are the backing band) was full of some really inspired jamming (“Raising the Sparks”).

Heres where things start to get iffy for me.  Meek warrior is structurally and sound wise everything the band has ever done, it just doesn’t raise the bar in any way from previous releases.  If that were the only problem i guess id have a large beef with 85% of all music but this is not so.  Songwriting has taken a turn to excess shoving in way too many ideas.  “Blessing Force” starts well enough but just gets lost in its own meandering.  Even the folk end of the album (“Gone Beyond” “Love and Space”) just falls short of anything catchy or worthwhile.  2007’s “Love is Simple” suffers from pretty much the same problems while sounding even less inspired. 

 Its hard to exactly pin point what could be going on but my guess is that while Akron/Family have always had there classic rock and jam band influences it seems to be taking its toll.  Also with so many ideas its hard to cram them all into a song and put it together coherently.  These problems coupled with not progressing musically can certainly slow a band down.  I’m not sure if im the only one that feels this way but it seems pretty glaring to me.  There is a new album out missing founding member Ryan Vanderhoof perhaps this will mark their redemption.