It’s yet another snowy night up here in Minneapolis. My plans to hang out with “the dude” have unfortunately been postponed due to said snow. I have to admit, I’m a bit bummed about this change of plans but know that I have been neglecting my ever-growing list of albums to review so this would give me a chance to get in front of some looming and passed due dates. One of those past due dates is attached to Champagne Colored Car’s ‘Tourism’ album. It’s not that I don’t want to review this one, more just life has gotten in the way and cozy nights in seem to be better spent by the fire with my cross-stitch in one hand and a glass of wine in the other but that changes tonight. With a glass of wine still in one hand, I hit play on this eight-song album with zero expectations or pre-conceived notions about what I may get from it.
“Cache Memory” kicks off this album and instantly grabbed my attention. The math-rock-ness of the guitars is not something I typically enjoy because it stresses me out but, as soon as the vocals came in, that stress went away. There’s a stark contrast between the almost chaotic instrumentation and the cool, calm, and collected vocals that instantly struck me. The beat may be hurried (and that’s if you can find the beat buried behind the complicated rhythms) but the track has an overall laid back feeling that was just what I needed for my snowy Tuesday evening.
At just under two minutes long, “Waterbed” is the shortest track on this album but also an instant favorite of mine. Although there are glimpses of the cool, calm, and collected vocals laid out in “Cache Memory”, there are also moments of slight aggression and power in the vocals that I absolutely loved and felt really go with the chaotic-ness (yet organized) instrumentation. There’s a dissonance in the guitar parts of this track that I found myself completely getting lost in. The only reason I realized the track had switched was that “Don Hector (ft. Corey King)” slows down the tempo just a little bit. Although still very math-rock, there’s something a bit more classic about this track while still being completely interesting and clearly Champagne Colored Cars’. There’s a slight breakdown towards the end of this track that caught me a bit off guard but also brought a giant smile to my face. It seemed like a nod to emo bands of days gone by while, again, staying distinct and unique.
“New York Sewer Gator” has one of the most interesting intros of all of the tracks on this quick album. Again, the vibe changes completely with this track from the previous one while still leaving no question as to who this is. The whispered vocals towards the beginning of this track are ear-wormy in a very strange way and it’s impossible to not get lost in them but you are jolted back to reality as the controlled chaos (that Champagne Colored Cars does so well) comes back to the forefront. One thing that this band does so well is the pure aggression and emotion balancing with beauty. This track is a perfect example of that and listening to it in one sitting is absolutely a rollercoaster ride that I went on a couple of times before moving on to “Glacier”.
The bass part that kicks off “Glacier” reminded me of Rancid. Maybe it was the tone or the way the string of notes runs on. Regardless, it was one of those odd comparisons that only works for one element of this band just proving how many influences can be heard throughout this album. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but “Glacier” was a favorite track of mine. I wish I could explain to you why but all I can come with is when you hear it, you just know.
“Dimensional (ft. Ellie Price)” changes the vibe yet again. There’s something a bit cozier about this track that is absolutely perfect. If you have been reading this blog for a bit, you know I’m a lyrics lady but I found myself completely captivated by the guitar and drum work in this track. Much like ll of the other tracks on this album, there are just so many intricacies in the instrumentation that you can’t possibly catch it all with a first pass. I was going to listen to “Dimensional (ft. Ellie Price)” again before moving on but I didn’t make it to my stereo in time and “Eden’s Gate” had me stopped in my tracks. There’s a theatrical feature to this track that I love and an almost jam band feeling that intrigued me. This is one of those tracks where I just sat back and completely got lost in my own little world. Before I knew it, the track was over.
Closing out this album is “Fever Dream: Season 3”. It’s the perfect closing track because it makes you want to go back to the beginning and listen to this entire album again as if to not miss a single note. At the same time, it’s the perfect period for a brilliant album. It brings in elements that are heard throughout the rest of the seven tracks while adding a couple of new ones here and there. It acts like a pretty bow sitting on top of a gorgeous album.
If you asked me my thoughts on math-rock, I would probably not have many nice things to say other than, “Yeah, it’s interesting”. Champagne Colored Cars has changed that phrase. The way they mix the math-rock vibe with aggression at times and a chilled jam-rock vibe at others is absolutely brilliant. I’m completely sold on this band and will absolutely be digging into their other stuff tomorrow.
My Favorite Track(s): “Waterbed”; “Glacier”
For Fans Of: Complicated Rhythms; Math-Rock; Interesting patterns; Intricate instrumentation
Mosh-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie hated it and slept on the back of the couch with his paws covering his ears; Autumn licked the snow off my boots
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
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