Cherry Bloom album is beyond me, but it gave me a chance to let you know just how cool they are (literally).
So now you want to know about the aforementioned band? Well, despite
having one of the worst band-names in rock, they’re from Paris, France
and they formed in 2005. However, the funnest fact about them is they’re
a duo. To make up for their lack of bassist friends they, unlike the
instrument switcheroo that Winnebago Deal
perform, simply do without. They merely lay the vocals on thick, the
crazily-named Octave Zangs performs all kinds of dynamic trickery with
his guitar, and Julien Jourdan thrashes the living crap out of his kit. Open & Die, currently streaming in full here,
is their second long-player and, like the best rock albums, it’s
divided into gritty ragers and crafty structures that lurch between
attack and release.
“Blood Rights” is a pacy, pounding track run through with screaming,
distorted guitars and an adversely laid-back vocal delivery, whilst the
title-track merely swaggers, ripped with a soulfully infectious bite.
“Breaking Down”, with its prominently feisty wah-wah effect and
affected, harmonised vocal is, unquestionably, like listening to Alice In Chains on happy pills. Similarly, there’s no doubting the burnt-out dynamics of Rival Schools (and possibly Reuben too) in the lo-fi, garage rock of “Weeping Lights”.
The sweet heart of the album takes us from the lurching yaw and
pinged strings of the excellent “Fall Of A Dead Whale” to the undersold
acoustics and light, vibrato lead of “Flying Over”, swamping us with
grungy elements. The half-spoken wordplay and dirty meandering around
moods are caught betwixt and between sounding a bit like Queens Of The Stone Age and a little like Foo Fighters’
debut. When they bite into the distortion, they do so with a swift
crack of the whip. Then, for the crushing smack of “Lovely Deer”, they
even manage to eke out a sweet Fu Manchu-esque stoner vibe.
Being a two-instrument band, they definitely benefit from striking
superbly clean lines; that freedom from instrument confliction that
comes naturally with such a set-up. However, unlike The White Stripes’
Jack White who manages to hold back from overcompensating with power,
they occasionally hit the same brick wall that occurs when a twitchy
sole and a distortion pedal come into contact. You can’t expect to
simply plug gaps by colouring them in with a deafening scrawl. That’s
half my problem with the collapsing wall of sound that Black Cobra’s
Jason Landrian creates with his crass pedal abuse and linked triple-amp
set-up. For the opening wedge of the album, I simply had to yank up the
level on my big sub-woofer to get anything like an acceptable level of
balance – you simply cannot listen to this with standard issue iPod
earbuds and get away with it.
However, even when you take this ever-present failing on board, there
is more to love than to hate here, and you simply cannot argue when
tracks like “Sick Rabbit” are being bandied about. Those snappy
string-strikes and pitching, barbaric riff grip you like a vice. To be
honest, even without it, “Fall Of A Dead Whale” swallows me hook, line
and sinker every time.
Like the Fennec Fox, Cherry Bloom
are an odd-looking animal who, because of their innate differences,
face more problems than most but, by evolving in just the right way,
they have so far managed to overcome them. Time will tell whether they
continue to survive in this barren and hostile environment.
Also online @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/cherry-bloom-open-die