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Sound Check

4/9/2014

cd The FaintThe Faint

“Doom Abuse”

SQE

The Omaha, Neb., indie-whatever-it-is returns with the band’s first album in six years, and in many ways, it’s classic Faint. A lot is going on all over the album, with the first few tracks (“Help in the Head,” “Mental Radio,” and “Evil Voices” and “Salt My Doom”) making for a hard, unrelentingly loud primer for anyone not already familiar with the band’s sound. From there, the album picks up a little momentum but never completely shakes the band’s desire (need?) for electro-machismo. This album harkens back to The Faint’s roots more than it does to 2008’s “Fasciinatiion,” and that’s mostly to the album’s detriment. Tracks like “Loss of Head” sound dated and a bit like KMFDM cast-offs rather than like anything new or particularly necessary. CV

 

HIV

Macroscope_12Jkt_collated copyThe Nels Cline Singers

“Macroscope”

Mack Avenue

If you’re new to The Nels Cline Singers, know this: No singer is to be found. Cline’s is completely an instrumental act with this its fifth studio album this month, and it’s a bountiful, unrestrained piece of musical alchemy. The easiest way to classify the album is to call it jazz, but any single label seems too claustrophobic for the Singers. Opening track “Companion Piece” starts languidly, slowly building to something that feels less like a breaking crescendo and more like a warm blanket being pulled ever higher. Cline’s guitar will, of course, make its presence felt over the course of the album, but the Singers is perhaps the one place where Cline’s ethereal talents feel like more like a vital cog rather than a showy centerpiece. The album ends with neither roar nor whimper. Instead, closing track, “Sascha’s Book of Frogs,” has a ragged, unresolved ending, leaving the listener with a feeling of something grand, interrupted. It’s a confusing feeling and one that’s deftly executed. CV

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