Reviews

Read the Review
Plaster

Read the Review
Hyness

Read the Review
Black Suit Devil

Read the Review
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Read the Review
The Pack A.D.

Read the Review
Chad VanGaalen

Read the Review
Potengowski Anna Friederike

Read the Review
Todd Rundgren

Read the Review
Old 97's

Read the Review
Needles//Pins

Read the Review
Ohama

Read the Review
Nicolas Horvath

Read the Review
Hugo Wolf Quartet

Read the Review
Heat

Read the Review
Parallels

Read the Review
Monica Chapman

Read the Review
Alexis Baro & Pueblo Nuevo Jazz Project

Read the Review
Jenny Wren and Her Borrowed Wings

Share |


Cover Art

Mantler ( http://www.myspace.com/mantler )

Monody
Blocks Recording Club ( http://www.blocksblocksblocks.com )

Toronto’s Chris A. Cummings, a.k.a Mantler fourth CD entitled Monody is something of a genre jumping chameleon album that leaves the listener wondering on the artist’s direction or is he simply creating his unique niche in music. With numerous shifts in tempo, style and instrumentation, it feels as if you are listening to someone’s experimenal trip into musical oblivion.

It could be very likely it is the music, a mixture of easy listening interwoven with low levels of electronic groves, that is a bit heavy on the Wurlitzer, sleepy time vocals and inconsistent tempos. The album contains a bit of everything, with sharp contrasts and hard to understand lyrical meanings, yet has a sort of classy hard to pin down direction.

The first track “Fortune Smiled Again” started off with a faint hint of Steely Dan sprinkled with a vocal hint of Frank Zappa on Joe’s Garage that soon disappeared into a mind numbing intro of a ringing clavinet and muddy sounding drums. If this was the intent then he pulled it off. But the listener is lost from the very beginning about what they are actually hearing and the story he is trying to tell.

It is not so different with the second and subsequent tracks where vocals seem at times forced and not completely hitting their intending mark on the scale.

On the slow moving, seamingly never-ending tracks of “Mount Shasta” and “Crying at the Movies”, he sounds like he not only is boring himself (and the listener) but really grasping for actual lyrics to complete the song. Rather than singing it seems like the words are actually being recited, somewhat like an actor.

The track, “Fresh and Fair”, injects some actual life into the album where Cumming’s vocals, accompanied by an appeasing instrumental backdrop, become quite effective. The lower range registry comes off strong and riddled with confidence on this groove tune.

Monody is certainly like a candy grab bag from the store, never knowing what you are going to get until you get home. However despite the monotonous trudging through the songs that is sometimes required, there is some musical craft dedication even on the albums many weak tracks. Further time spent on moderate tempos and soulful riffs would have made this a worthwhile CD.

Overall the album left me someplace in the dark not knowing what was going to be heard next.

By Dave Ferguson
Aug 30, 2010

[reviews home] [list reviews]
 
comments powered by Disqus

More Reviews By Dave Ferguson

Cover ArtBarney Bentall
The Inside Passage
(True North)
Jan 12, 2010
Cover ArtMark Berube And The Patriotic Few
Tailored to Fit
(Aquarius)
Nov 24, 2010
Cover ArtMark Berube And The Patriotic Few
June in Siberia
(Aquarius)
Apr 26, 2011
Cover ArtBill Bourne & The Free Radio Band
Bluesland
(Self-Released)
Aug 9, 2011
Cover ArtJim Byrnes
Everywhere West
(Black Hen)
Nov 24, 2010
Cover Art China Syndrome
Nothing's Not Worth Knowing
(Self-Released)
Feb 18, 2011
Cover ArtCameron Scott Fraser
Promised Land
(Self-Released)
Oct 21, 2010
Cover ArtBrandon Isaak
Bluesman's Plea
(Self-Released)
Feb 13, 2012
Cover ArtJW Jones with Sumlin & Musselwhite
Midnight Memphis Sun
(Northern Blues)
Oct 21, 2010
Cover ArtThe Joys
Adventures In...
(Self-Released)
May 13, 2010
Cover ArtDavid Myles
Turn Time Off
(Self-Released)
Aug 30, 2010
Cover ArtDavid Myles
Into The Sun
(Little Tiny)
Nov 19, 2011
Cover Art Pale Whale
Pale Whale
(Self-Released)
Jun 17, 2011
Cover Art Purple Hill
Bring On The Macho
(Escapegoat)
Jun 17, 2011
Cover Art Rival Boys
Mutual Feelings of Love
(Self-Released)
Aug 9, 2011
Cover ArtMorgan Cameron Ross
Morgan Cameron Ross
(Sparks)
Jun 17, 2011
Cover ArtThe Stance
I Left Love Behind A Long Time Ago
(Just Friends)
May 13, 2010
Cover ArtThe Telepathic Butterflies
Wow And Flutter
(Rainbow Quartz)
Jun 28, 2010
Cover ArtCory Weeds
The Many Deeds of Cory Weeds
(Cellar Live)
Aug 30, 2010
Cover Art Whitehorse
Whitehorse
(Six Shooter)
Sep 30, 2011
Cover Art Wild Domestic
Wild Domestic
(Out Of Sound)
Feb 13, 2012
Cover ArtJoey Wright
Hatch
(Black Hen)
Apr 26, 2011

More Reviews For Blocks Recording Club artists

Cover Art Blankket
Pegatively Nositive
(Blocks Recording Club)
Apr 1, 2009
Cover Art Final Fantasy
Play To Please
(Blocks Recording Club)
Apr 1, 2009
Cover Art Kids On TV
Shape Shifting Mutants / Remixes Volume 1
(Blocks Recording Club)
Dec 6, 2009
Cover Art One Hundred Dollars
Fourteenth Floor b/w Migrant Workers
(Blocks Recording Club)
May 1, 2009
Cover ArtThe Swyves
The Swyves
(Blocks Recording Club)
Aug 30, 2010
Cover ArtBob Wiseman
The Legend
(Blocks Recording Club)
Sep 23, 2008
header bottom