American indie ecentrics offer their 9th album...
Olli Siebelt 2003
Although we do get our fair share of international music here at BBC Music HQ, its not often that we get releases in from the North American state of Maine. Maine, you see, happens to be the home of Stephen King, many lobsters and that other Portland, which is where our friends Cerberus Shoal come in.
Formed in the early 90s, this six piece collective has steadily gained a name for themselves as one of the most interesting and original bands coming out of the North American indie scene today. On this, their 9th full length release, Claiming the Knoblessone incorporates everything from spoken word, accordion, abstract electronics and even toy piano into something approaching post-rock, industrial, improv, cabaret and indie. And like Frank Sinatra, Cerberus Shoal most certainly do it their way.
Alternating between something resembling The B52s jamming with Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa attempting half-finished Yes covers, we begin our journey with "Apatrides". This starts off as a lovely ambient piece and ends up sounding something like The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow performing in a student play before returning to its lovely ambience.
"Mr. Shakespeare Torso" also embraces warm electronics and accordion to complement some lovely reverb soaked female vocals. When the band does get lucid however, it happens to play some really interesting indie rock reminiscent of a disjointed Modest Mouse. But, that happens infrequently and just when the band start to get it together, they scatter the sound again leaving you guessing where it's heading next.
Indie purists may get slightly annoyed at the lengthy forays into abstract performance art, but it's one of those albums that grows on you over time...Cerberus Shoal certainly get full marks for originality and for doing the experimental thing with style and a real sense of drama. Not for everyone, but if you're willing to give a little, this will give a lot back.