Dredg

The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion

Written by: AP on 16/07/2009 22:40:45

In 2002, Dredg unleashed their most critically acclaimed album, the major label debut El Cielo, which the disenchanted public received with open arms as a breath of fresh air to popular rock, satisfying both indie aficionados and fans of experimental music with a strafe of irresistible, electronically tinged progressive rock so challenging, so beautiful, so different to anything in the market that when the band unveiled the follow-up, Catch Without Arms three years later, Dredg became dead to most fans. That album exposed Dredg from a more simplistic, though no less sensational angle, where the band's forays into the unknown were replaced with pop rock anthems that blew the listener away with meticulous detail and efficacy rather than ambitious experimentation. Nonetheless this wasn't the Dredg people had fallen in love with, and to many it felt like the band was surrendering its soul to airwaves. During the four years in the making of the band's fourth album The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion, their fanbase devoured acoustic demos and live performances only to be disappointed by the band's overt poppiness, and consequently this new release became surrounded by negative hype. Dredg was caught in a downward spiral.

Now that the album is out, many skeptics will undoubtedly find themselves a little ashamed they doubted their beloved geniuses, because The Pariah... could well be the band's most ambitious album yet. Structurally it bears similarities to El Cielo with long, progressive songs interspersed with delicate instrumental jams that serve as both intros and outros to the vast array of distinct tracks on offer here. Dredg have an impeccable ability to fuse their spasms of psychedelia with more traditionally driven pop songs like Information and I Don't Know using the aforementioned interludes both to foreshadow the next song and to conclude the last, giving the album a sense of cohesion while allowing the band to experiment at the same time.

Clearly some elements have been drawn from Catch Without Arms as well, because while the album is cluttered with soothing ambiance and serene, contemplative progressions, the songs are more rhythmically and texturally driven, with repeated use of the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure and obvious melodic hooks and rhythmic build-ups given the most prominence. Surprisingly though the more straightforward tracks like Ireland and Saviour sound no less intriguing than their experimental counterparts in Gathering Pebbles and the beautiful Quotes, the latter of which features an absolutely crushing bridge. What all these songs have in common is that they are flawlessly executed, and despite the fact that many of them retread familiar territory they are infinitely more entertaining than the songs of, say, the much alike Coldplay, because, like one critic once said of a Deftones album, there are probably sounds in The Pariah... which only dogs can hear. The amount of detail Dredg have packed into each song is simply overwhelming.

As such The Pariah... leaves little to be desired. Gavin's gorgeous voice sounds as celestial as ever, and particularly his invocation of falsetto on Cartoon Showroom sends shivers down my spine. Dino Campanella's unconventional drumming coupled with Drew Roulette's inventive bass licks provides a chilling foundation to the album's ethereal soundscape, and thanks to stellar production the thick bass section never trespasses its role as the pacemaker, so that the guitar, synthesizers and samples get to enjoy some hard-earned prominence in the mix. Violins, organs, tambourines and other classical instruments constantly swoop into the mix to provide texture and that much-emphasized detail to accentuate the eclectic nature of Dredg's music. And that is what separates Dredg from most of their compatriots. There simply isn't another band processing the same ideas, which probably owes to the band's fascination with art, which they readily incorporate into their live shows to craft an experience that is almost certainly unique. The Pariah... is yet another wonderful byproduct of the singularity that is Dredg.

9

Download: Gathering Pebbles, Information, Saviour, I Don't Know, Quotes

For the fans of: Amplifier, Coldplay, Oceansize, Radiohead

Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.06.2009

Ohlone

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