Cryptacize - Dig That Treasure
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Cryptacize
Dig That Treasure

Cryptacize is the newest musical offering from one Nedelle Torrisi, who released two albums a couple years ago on the KRS label. She's joined by guitarist Chris Cohen and Michael Carreira on drums, and the trio plays completely odd pop music that's both sparse and a bit disorienting in an age of multi-track overloads. The vocals of Torrisi (and sometimes Cohen) are largely the focal point here still, but a strange backdrop of drums, guitar, autoharp, strings, and harmonica combine in odd and sometimes wonderful ways behind them.

With trilling guitars and a quiet rumble of tom tom drums, opener "Stop Watch" is a perfect example of what you get from the trio. With the tension of the drums and guitar (along with some strums of autoharp), the vocals of Torrisi build into soaring passages, but instead of really exploding, the song instead teeters on the edge of the brink without ever letting loose. Only on "Heaven Is Human" does the group start to resemble a more traditional pop group, but even there the group fractures the song into start-and-stop fragments that focus in on fuzzy guitars, triangle, and some short passages of sing-along vocals.

Perhaps one of the best ways to describe the group is that they most often do exactly the opposite of what you'd expect both in terms of music and vocals. Songs progress in sometimes clunky ways and are often held together with only a single instrument (like a wood-block percussion solo) or delicate vocal passage. Although the recording is nicely-done, it sounds like the sort of album that could have been written and recorded in a kitchen or bedroom, with other-world sensibilities that are almost improvisational and stream-of-consciousness at times. Dig That Treasuere is the sort of release that will frustrate you in the wrong mood but enchant you in others. Because of the stark palette, it sounds a bit too uniform at times, but with eleven songs running just over thirty minutes, it's also a brief journey that certainly never feels like it's trying too hard. Spectral and charming, Cryptacize definitely have something unique going.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2008-02-21 20:13:15