September 8th, 2009
"Is it cool if we send you an LP to spin and maybe cover for Punknews?"
January 4th, 2010
"Hey Jesse! Just checking in to see if you ended up reviewing the Sonorous Gale LP."
Fuck. Talk about dropping the ball. No, not because I flaked on a review. These things happen, and as shitty as that is to say, certain publications pay me to write reviews, and those tend to be prioritized. And then I spend the other 7/8ths of my time watching Law and Order reruns and playing with my dog and eating pizza with my wife.
I dropped the ball because shit, how did it take me four months to finally get my turntable and listen to this wonderful, wonderful album? Four months it sat in shrink wrap, and in 20 seconds of throwing it on, my face has been subsequently rocked.
Sonorous Gale is a bass/drums duo in the vein of DFA 1979, Big Business and the less known Total Fucking Blood. Plenty of heavy riffs, fuzzed-out distortion, grooves that range from traditional D-beat to thrash and touches of prog, and if this is their self-released, shit-rippin' debut, then I can only imagine what this band can do with even a minor amount of budget and more time to write and record.
Duo bands truly give a direct audience to the prowess of the musicians, and Weese and Kerfien do a damn fine job in bringing the melody out of the rhythm section. The greatest complaint is that maybe they're too good at what they do. And in that respect, the two of them play off each other with the precision and thunderous amplitude that Cody and Jared share in Big Business. But similarities to another act shouldn't be a burden. We all know Screeching Weasel built a career out of it (amirite?).
The vinyl is beautiful -- thick and creamy white, and I highly recommend that it be the way the album is listened to. You have to sit through the shifts and track listing the way it was intended, and the fuller sound frame lends itself to the album's live-sound production. Dang it all, it sounds like the dang band's in the room right there with you. It's rare that a band gets so much of this right on their first foray into the world of recorded music, but Two's a Crowd has most everything you want, save for an album title that isn't too witty.
Everything really builds and comes together with side two's opener "Shattered Fingers." The band finds an almost poppy chord progression and tone to their singing, at least in comparison to the punishment that is the rest of the album. Thusly, a range and dynamic is set and expectations are modified.
It took four months to get to this, but it might just be another four months before the LP is removed from the turntable.