Cassette Corner: Carve Color - 'Separation'

Carve Color - Separation
(2012 Swan City Sounds)

"A dizzying whirlwind of 90's influences"

 It's tough to create dreamy atmospherics when your signature guitar tone could be described as sludgy, dirt-caked and impenetrable. Brian Shields' Orlando-based solo project Carve Color is one of the select few bands who can pull off such wizardry and use it to write quality songs to get one's heart racing. Carve Color's debut album, Separation, sounds like Dinosaur Jr. covering Slowdive, with Beach Fossils' Dustin Payseur providing vocals. It's a dizzying whirlwind of 90's influences, and it's simply perfect for the cassette format.

 Building up to the action with slow strums as textured as sandpaper, instrumental opener "Amor Fati" is a dense ball of messy distortion and reverb that I find surprisingly pleasant to listen to. When the noise cuts away, a surf-y bass riff leads into funky and punky "The Call". The song makes clever use of contrast in a manner similar to that of My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shadow". At times it feels as if the song could burst at the seams with chaotic blasts of sonic fuzz spiraling out of control, while at other times dissonance is the name of the game to make room for Shields' delightfully deadpan vocal delivery.

 At times, especially near the middle of Separation, the effects are toned down just enough to hear the song underneath. "Right", a song which sort of reminds me of R.E.M, and the gut-wrenching and creepy "Leaves", are prime examples. The album comes to a close with the mini-epics "Lucid Dream" and "Life". The former is a stunningly melancholy piece of shoegazery, ending in one of the most insanely over-the-top solos since J. Mascis' reign as indie guitar god. The latter is a beautiful instrumental in the vein of Explosions in the Sky. Not for the faint of heart, fans of Fang Island and Swervedriver will be pleased with this cassette. Listen below.