Caravels - Floorboards (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Floorboards (2010)


Caravels unleash an incredibly dense and yet thoroughly interesting, non-specific blend of brooding, modern hardcore, '90s screamo temperament and gloomy, lumbering post-rock elements with their five-song EP, Floorboards. It's a progressive and circuitous sound offering few hooks to satiate early or even later listens, but it's a rewarding investment all the same.

Bands like Defeater and--to a lesser extent--Touché Amoré seem to provide a more broad and popular set of reference points on the band's sound, though they're a little less melodic and certainly not as catchy. In fact, they're quite difficult.

Floorboards' first track, "Iceland" is one of its longest and clocks in at a hefty five minutes. It's hefty because of how inherently compressed and intricate the song is, like if a younger Envy had easier vocals and piled on the layers while advancing a prowess over a harshness. It lurches with a sort of scrappy heaviness without repeating too much, allowing the band's distressed frontman to bark his almost completely intelligible yelp over a soft collision of driving guitars and rhythm. "Greenland" is essentially an extension of this motive, continually building up in subtle ways through a cathartic but comprehensive intensity. It's a series of practically hidden dynamics that really guide the song, and if you're patient enough to follow them along, it's an enriching experience throughout.

"Sixty Acres" leads with a moody, lingering picked riff over an audio clip from Bukowski's 70 Minutes in Hell before the sound is fully embraced by the entire band with a soft transition. That intro style then repeats, and a drum solo opening "Meat Wave" breaks the pattern with a erratically pulsating, heavy series of stop-starts. This particular penultimate track shows indelible promise through its quietly sparkling guitar tones, pounding, unpredictable stop-starts that kick back off with complex riffs instead of just hammering chords, and eerie, almost choir-like vocals backing that all lead into a chilling finish. The building aggression and surprisingly well-integrated keyboard of punishing closer "Safety Jobs" gets the job done just as well, too; OSHA would be pleased. Or pissed.

Despite being so new, Caravels are already on the cusp of greatness. There are moments on Floorboards that just plain floor, but the others hardly, um, bore...

Buddy System