Dredg has lost me over the past few albums. I’ve been a fan since Leitmotif and El Cielo but when they released Catch Without Arms, it seemed like they had lost a little of that magic that made me appreciate them in the first place. While El Cielo was their first major label release, they didn’t really begin a shift in sound until Catch Without Arms. To their credit, the demos that came out before Catch sounded amazing (It’s called Coquette, go find it on the interwebs) but the end result was way more polished than I had grown accustomed to when thinking of dredg.
They split with the major and released The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion in 2009 which was definitely more of a return for them but not quite there yet…until Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy was conceived, that is. Can I also point out how funny it is that …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and dredg have followed similar musical paths and now find themselves each releasing monster comeback albums in 2011 as labelmates once again (They were on Interscope at the same time, too.). Small world.
Produced by Dan The Automator (Who deserves just as much accolades as Timbaland and Danger Mouse in the “hip-hop producer taking on a rock band” department), Chuckles is…different. I will say this for dredg, though, no two albums ever sound the same.
I’m warning you now, “Another Tribe” is gonna start off Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy and you’ll be tempted to take out the CD and make sure that this is a dredg CD and not the newest Gorillaz. Don’t panic. You’ll get it. And if you don’t, go directly to “Upon Returning” which starts with a slow groove and a really crunchy, really mechanical guitar riff that’s just colossal.
These are just some of the other highlights:
-“The Ornament” is bliss. A great beat complemented by a muted trumpet and simple guitar line, the song reminds me so much of the quieter moments of Peter Gabriel’s So. “In Your Eyes” comes to mind when listening to “The Ornament”.
-“The Thought Of Losing You” is a classic dredg song in all sense of the word. The guitar riff that starts this song is so iconic for the band and when the beat kicks in, you’ll immediately have a smile on your face.
-“Kalathat” is just beautiful. It’s a simple acoustic number that shares a lot of similarities with “Blackbird”. I’d point out how vocalist GavinHayes shines here but he shines on every track so that point’s redundant.
Then there’s the sitar-infused hip-hop of “Sun Goes Down” which isn’t surprising seeing that it was co-written by Dan The Automator (He also co-wrote “The Tent” and “Before It Began”).
Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy is an evolution in the world of dredg and sees the band infused with the essence that made me love them in the first place. If you were ever a fan of this band, this is the one to get.