Sunday, July 13, 2014

Album Review: The For Carnation

The For Carnation released their one and only album in 2000.  It opens with the eight minute slow burn of Emp Man's Blues, Brian McMahan's monotone vocals drone on as the understated music creeps alongside it, a little guitar here, a touch of keyboard there.  The track drifts in patiently and deliberately, and it's ably followed up by the stealthy, vaguely threatening A Tribute To, which though pacier than what came before, is darker still.  Being Held consists almost entirely of machine drones and Steve Goodfriend's drumming, yet it manages to convey a deeply sinister, stifling, suffocating atmosphere.
Snoother is, if anything, more downbeat, the band sounds utterly out of breath, creating a bleak slab of sound to lose yourself in.  Kim Deal contributes a vocal to the spidery guitars of Tales (Live From The Crypt), but on the closing slow grind Moonbeams the band finally shows their vulnerable side.  More emotive than anything which has gone before, it's an uplifting trudge with low key guitar, keyboards and cello combining to produce a rather affecting tune.
If it's reminiscent of anything, perhaps it's the darker side of Smog's Dongs of Sevotion.  But for an unrelenting album of basically all shade and no light, it's pretty addictive.