Eric Alexandrakis - IV Catatonia
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Eric Alexandrakis
IV Catatonia
(Y&T Music)

If one can believe it, the real fuel behind the creation of this album was a life-threatening illness. Alexandrakis, a musician in the Miami area, was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease early in on the process of creating I.V. Catatonia and it was something that drove, inspired, and influenced the songs that you hear on it. With 22 tracks spread out over the course of 70 minutes, it's quite a helping of sound and music, but it's one that runs the gamut from noise experiments to jangly pop to damaged soundscapes.

Recorded on a four-track, it's easy to hear that Alexandrakis used nearly everything at his disposal in creating the songs. Not does he often sing with vocals and a guitar, but there are field recordings of sirens, distorted clanging, and even kitchen utensils. In fact, the album sleeve says that "bass, drums, a phone line, washing machine, pop corn canister and kitchen pots" were used in making it.

After an opening track of only a couple seconds, the album bursts out with the title track of the disc. While a plucked guitar and echoed vocals hold down the backbone of the song, distorted versions of each burst into the song at intervals to add quite a kick. The third track takes a bit of a different approach with a rather ominous piano sound and vocals that go from quiet to pained and it resembles work from Radiohead in more ways that one. While tracks like the scattershod noise-fest instrumental of "The Big Crunch Theory" don't work quite as well, Alexandrakis shows he can write a really catchy pop song with tracks like the softer "Thanatopsis" or the more stomping "Hooligan Hotline (You Walk Away)."

The second half of the album (that corresponds to his second half of treatments) works even better than the first, and although the final track "Fin" drags on a bit too long, the lo-fi recording doesn't put too large of a cramp on the end of things. Overall, the album is a very nicely produced (with a bit of a rough edge) slab of more experimental pop music. With little bits of Neutral Milk Hotel and Radiohead shining through in parts, it's another artist on a small label to keep an eye on. Also, let's hope that his disease stays in remission.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00