The Occasion - The Occasion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Occasion

The Occasion (2004)

Say Hey

The artwork is a desert. The CD has shiny camels on it. The press sheet describes it as the soundtrack to a desert (or something like that, I totally lost the sheet by the time I got around to writing this review). And they're right. When I listen to this album, I feel like I'm trapped in the desert. Transported to an endless sea of atmospheric noises haunting stripped down drum beats, lazy bass lines, and guitar and keyboard riffs. And vocal harmonies. Lots of them. But used very sparingly.

And traveling through this album is much like traveling through the desert. Or at least, the desert as I know it from cartoons and movies, seeing as how I'm come once removed from the frozen wastelands of Canada. At first, it's sort of like, "Hey, I'm in the desert. That's pretty sweet." You run across the random cow skull every fifteen feet or so and say to yourself "Oh man, I'd hate to have been that guy" while chuckling softly. Then you look around and see how everything around you is the same. Same cow skull every fifteen feet, and it's not as cool anymore. In fact, it's sort of creepy. And then you hear (in the distance) the lonesome call of vultures as they begin to circle overhead. And then you say, "Hey, that sort of reminds me a little bit like Portishead." And it strikes you. It reminds you of a less electronic, more organic sounding Portishead.

Once you get out of the desert, you think, "Hey, the desert wasn't so bad. I lived, didn't I? I had an okay time. I saw some cool shit, and as long as I have enough water with me, I think I could do it again." And then one time, you don't bring enough water. Maybe you just forgot it, maybe you forgot how hot the desert actually is, but either way you're screwed. You're stranded, and you're left for dead. And it seems to go on forever in every direction. And then the dance beat song hits you, like a late 70's German techno jam. But then you're stranded in the desert, and you think, "Maybe a southern rock version of Portishead..."

After you make it out of the desert that last time, you never want to go back there again. You had an adventure, and you feel wiser because of it. You feel more experienced. But you never want to go back into the desert, regardless of how much water you have on you.