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CD Review: Suddenland

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Suddenland
Suddenland
(2011, Independent)

Do record labels like 4AD still have A&R people? If so, take note. Your destination? Kingston, New York. Your brilliant unearthing? Suddenland. Too far off the map? Your loss, but at least let them open up for your darling Blonde Redhead at the next gracing of our brightly lit Gotham to the south. With vocals spanning a quirky chasm from Chrissie Hynde to Bjork, and sonics and rhythms from Don Caballero to Cocteau Twins, Suddenland is Josie Baucom (piano, vocals), Kornelis Poort (guitar, bass), and producer-engineer Kevin McMahon (drums, guitar, bass). The record sucks you in, whole-soul, to the beautifully adventurous world of art rock. It’s abstract and ethereal, but not proggy or presumptuous.

There is an exploration of the journey and fearlessness of vision that embraces the listener. Each turn is enhanced by layers of thought, as if the band is taking you on a ride while it constructs, burns down, and selectively gathers meaningful remnants from the ashes. The results range from glorious Nordic sound washes to Albini-esque stabbings of fleshy rawness. The amorphous and un hooky vocal melodies can be trying, but this is made up for by the stick-in-your-head guitar and piano riffs and the driving intent of the drums. The sound is wonderfully un-selfconscious, but completely engaged in deliberate orchestration. It’s quite a feat to pull this off amid a maelstrom of production choices and guest instrumentation. But to pull it off while infiltrating the perfection of anarchy with a devil-may-care attitude? Wünderbar. www.reverbnation.com/Suddenland.
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