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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Caustic Resin
Keep On Truckin'
Up Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Caustic Resin is something of an enigma. Their sound, spread out over the course of seven albums and one split EP with Built to Spill, has remained more or less the same but as perplexing as it was from the start. They don't give a shit about indie rock conventions or trends. Brett Netson's guitar playing and vocals are out of control and psychotic like Syd Barrett on his worst days. The current incarnation of the band is rounded out by Mike Johnson on bass and Pat Perkins on drums. They have made a jump from Alias Records back to their former home of Up (I didn't think Up was still operating as anything but a mail-order back catalogue, but I'm glad to be proven wrong). Caustic Resin are just about anything but typical - sometimes frustratingly and sometimes refreshingly so. Their greatest heights were reached on the Built to Spill/Caustic Resin EP and their Fly Me to the Moon LP. Brett's relationship with Built to Spill goes far back, as he was an original member and often tours with the band, wizard hat atop his mess of hair, ten-minute guitar solos teetering on the brink of self-implosion. But Caustic Resin is his baby, and it bears little resemblance to the sweet pop and melodic rock of Built To Spill.

Keep On Truckin' is chock-full of sloppy, choppy and muddy psychedelic rock. The mood and tempos are sludgy and downtrodden for the most part. Songs like "Message to the Shareholders," barreling from disorganized guitar chaos to slow synth and moody rock, seem to float through your ears in a haze of pot smoke and mushroom aftertaste. "Fry Like Ace Jones" is slightly more conventional, Brett's singing almost like a "No More Tears" era-Ozzy over soft picked acoustic guitars and echoing slide guitars. Then there are the epic jams, the ones where Brett just doesn't want to put down his guitar, the ones where he has no need for an ending. "Drive #47" and the title track push ten minutes, all fuzz and effected distortion, blazing paths through rock that will freak out the most sensitive Clinic fan. Listen to the phased wah-wah guitars on "Drive" and then listen to the live version of the Built To Spill tune "Broken Chairs" and you will hear the Netson connection. The album's title track borders on classic rock, as it goes and goes and goes, repeating a simple and rockin' chord progression and Brett gets looser and looser, until his voice sounds like ice melting in a glass of scotch.

While Caustic Resin's means and ends are somewhat questionable at times, they are highly original and definitely worth some applause. Like I mentioned before, they really don't seem to give a fuck, and in an age of posing and tight pants, this band doesn't quite fit in. Which is good. They have more in common with the grunge era, old Soundgarden or Screaming Trees, than with the garage revival. Brett's songs take their cues more from Pink Floyd at the peak of their freakouts or Neil Young's darker moments. This is punk rock on Quaaludes. This is caustic backwoods rock.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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