Dredg - Catch Without Arms (Cover Artwork)


Catch Without Arms (2005)


Despite Dredg's proven track record, some fans have constantly complained about their lack of real songs on their albums. Both their debut Leitmotif and their last record, El Cielo, were wrought with instrumentals that were trippy, but there were too many of them. Finding the real songs on the albums was often a difficult task for the listener, especially someone who wasn't as familiar with the band as some of their more seasoned fans. Apparently, the guys in Dredg must have taken this into consideration, and their third album Catch Without Arms (which, if there's ever an award for Best Album Title, they'd definitely be a contender), is all songs. There's no interludes to be found here -- this is just straight-forward Dredg, from start to finish.

Other than the fact that there's no "movements" between each track on Catch Without Arms, there's not much difference between this and El Cielo. Lead single "Bug Eyes" sounds like it could have been a leftover from the album sessions, bearing striking resemblance to the aura of "Same Ol' Road" and "It Only Took A Day" at times. "Ode To The Sun" has similar attributes, but contains one of the best guitar riffs Dredg has ever put to record, and is overall one of their best songs. Dredg is definitely at their best when they're rocking out, as has always been the case. Other than the aforementioned "Ode To The Sun," the highlights are "Tanbark," which has some trippy breaks and rhythms and a killer chorus to boot, and "Hangover On A Tuesday," which has to be one of the best songs Dredg could ever play live. It's just one of those songs that grabs your attention and locks you in.

Catch Without Arms isn't as good as it could have been, however. While El Cielo would have benefitted from the straight-ahead approach, Catch Without Arms doesn't seem to. The songs aren't as strong here as they were on Cielo, and there aren't enough hard-hitting tracks to keep the listener interested. The soft songs aren't as involved as their past instrumental pieces, sometimes drifting into borderline boring territory. Of course, they're still better than most bands, since Dredg is probably one of the best active bands in rock circa 2005, but there's definitely material here that's not up to par with their past output. Catch Without Arms would have benefitted from the band actually recording all the songs that were on the demos, including the songs that were left off Cielo, like "Papal Insignia," for one.

However, opinions are going to definitely vary on the effectiveness of this release. It all depends on how familiar you are with Dredg and what you like more -- their atmospheric, slow stuff or their kickin' rock tunes. But when it all comes down to it, the album doesn't make a good starting point for a new listener, nor does it make the impression most thought it was going to. While it's not bad by any means, this isn't the new masterpiece it should have been. Take it for what it is (a good way to drift away from your problems), and go back to El Cielo and Leitmotif for your uber-leet Dredg thrills.