Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crash Coordinates - Ansible CD Review

You’re probably not going to recognize the title of this album... that is unless you’re a sci-fi reader who has had a chance to read Orson Scott Card’s Ender novels. In these novels, an ansible is a communications device that allows instantaneous communication between two points, regardless of distance. It’s a clever album title, alluding to its ability to instantly “reach” the listener, and it actually manages to, but part of the reason this album does “reach” you right away is that you’ve heard some of it already.

There’s a familiarity to the band that exudes a sense of comfort, a knowledge that you’re hearing something you’ve stumbled across in the past, but you can’t necessarily pick out what it reminds you of. It would be easy to peg this band as a knock-off spacey, emo version 2.0 style of band, but that’s only giving you half of the picture, especially when you consider this band is still unsigned and young.

After a few spins you’ll start to pick up on the influences as the album grows itself on you. Here and there you feel some mellower Armor for Sleep moments, especially in parts of “Reverie”. Maybe it’s because the song is about dreams and living forever in them (similar lyrical territory as Things To Do When You Are Dead), or maybe it is simply the song's structure. It’s definitely not the vocals, however. Sung in a very youthful tenor, or at times in a semi-spoken style, they bring to mind a less polished Quietdrive using a different approach. Unfortunately, the vocals are the weakest part of Ansible, not so much because of the voice, but because some glossier production, for once, actually could have helped out a band, whereas in most cases it becomes a hindrance. The rest of the band is quite polished (for the most part) so there’s a bit of a disconnect between vocal and instrument clarity at times.

The instruments all come across very well, but there are times where the band shows some rough edges, such as on “The Torino Scale”. The song contains some very Fall of Troy inspired guitar work, and it doesn’t always feel like there is a true command over the material like there is on the more slowed moments, such as the dredg-tastic guitar tones of “Pompeii”. Given some time to mature, it’ll all come together I’m sure.

For a young, unsigned band, this is a great initial salvo into the musical world. Assuming the band doesn’t make any drastic changes, they’re poised to hone their talents and coalesce into a solid musical entity in the near future. Keep a look out because I think you’ll be hearing about these guys some more.

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