Review : Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha
SputnikmusicSomewhere in the rolling delirium of “As the Little Things Go,” The Appleseed Cast establish a new identity, completing the transformation from second wave emo act to first rate post rock act- or so they’d hope. On the group’s latest disc, Sagarmatha, The Kansas outfit explores their glorious side by utilizing the tools of their delay pedal fondling peers; that is, repeating motifs, swelling climaxes, long instrumentals, and “atmospheric” vocals. That last one marks the starkest change for the quartet, as singer/guitarist Chris Crisci takes a backseat to what proves a dynamic group of musicians. On Sagarmatha, The Appleseed Cast perform with the skill of any solid post rock act, and the result is solid post rock, which means the music is, as anyone familiar with the genre would say, sometimes fantastic, occasionally boring, and oftentimes just plain inconsequential. But Sagarmatha, despite not presenting anything new or particularly groundbreaking, wears that “solid” tag proudly as The Appleseed Cast dive headfirst into one of music’s most competitive genres.
Sagarmatha is better than it could have been in less capable hands. The issues with repetition and direction that plagues some of The Appleseed Cast’s brand new peers are nowhere to be found here; the songs of Sagarmatha sound meticulously crafted, complete with well-executed transitions and satisfying conclusions. The strong songwriting allows Crisci the luxury to use his vocals as a textural addition, providing songs with an X-Factor to make a decent track fantastic. For example, album opener “As the Little Things Go” warmly spins towards an inevitable climax, and when that hits, it’s predictable and pretty, nothing more. But soon, the tempo picks up, the drums intensify, and Crisci soars over it all with an airy tranquility, capping a well composed announcement of what’s good on Sagarmatha....full text
TinymixtapesI’ve followed The Appleseed Cast ever since they were a second-rate emo band back in the late ’90s with the release of End of the Ring Wars. At the time, the band’s sound could be described as a less-appealing version of Mineral (circa Power of Failing) or a noisier Diary-era Sunny Day Real Estate. Shortly after Ring Wars was released, however, the band members relocated from California to Kansas and, by my approximation, began a run with Mare Vitalis and Low Level Owl Vol. 1 & 2 that should have catapulted them into near-mythic status. Regardless of the band’s unrestrained creativity at the time — brandishing pop songwriting with post-rock/shoegaze textures and ambience the likes of which had been missing in action since Bark Psychosis’ Hex or the final two Slowdive albums — those albums rarely get the acknowledgment they deserve. This may have something to do with the goodwill that the band has squandered on two mediocre albums, Two Conversations (Tigerstyle, 2003) and Peregrine (The Militia Group, 2006), which neither critics nor fans (myself included) can agree upon.
Sagarmatha will hopefully go at least a little way toward correcting those missteps, as it is hands down the strongest album The Appleseed Cast have released since Low Level Owl. A major contributing factor is the return of that album’s producer, Ed Rose, who wisely submerges singer/guitarist Chris Crisci’s voice amidst the lovely guitars instead of placing them at the forefront. Not that Crisci has a bad voice, it’s just that part of the problem with Two Conversations was the production, which often spotlighted the more palatable aspects of the band rather than the interesting ones. Another plus with Sagarmatha is the seemingly renewed interest in emphasizing the rhythm section. This album’s heavy drums and weighty bass are recorded in a manner that could be likened to the sound of the drums on Isis’ Oceanic....full text
ThreevueSagarmatha is the seventh studio album from Lawrence, Kansas-based indie rock/emo band The Appleseed Cast. Originally intended as an instrumental EP, they expanded it and added some singing every once in a while. Unfortunately, the singer’s contrasting vocals have always been the band’s strong point, and although they managed to create some interesting instrumental tracks in their Low-Level Owl albums (most about a minute long each), these instrumentals are neither interesting, nor short (most about 5 minutes long)....full text
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