Thursday, June 24, 2010

Local Review

(In an effort to keep Dick Insulator off the street we sent him/her one of the numerous albums submitted to us for review that we haven't had time to get to. You can catch The Caterpillars live tomorrow night at The Door-FP)

Caterpillars - Self Titled EP

A Dick Insulation about Nothing Special

This was a handoff. Someone at the office got handed a case. It smelled bad. They could tell it was dirty work. It got slid across the desk to me. Goddammit. I sat on this for the better part of a month and a half. Resented it. Knew it had to be done. It’s okay, girls. Dick’s on it.

The thing is, they asked for it. Caterpillars are ready for the mainstream. They have their Sonic Bids account. They can’t wait for your venue to give them an opportunity for which their paid monies have qualified them. Maybe this will help land them a choice spot at Boiler Room for next year’s NX35 Wank-Around Conferette. They have an artist bio, lyrics, and carefully chosen, standard issue press pictures. They even spent the big bucks on “legendary” producer “Ed Rose”. Caterpillars are begging you to make them the next big thing from the “legendary” Frisco scene, though they fail to make a convincing argument.

It could be said that their songs themselves are an argument. On the opener “One Thousand Times Before,” I thought perhaps the argument was in favor of nature. Lots of really earthy, yet otherworldly descriptive similes. You’ve got your full moons, whispery winds, waves of the ocean, light and fire both lingering; it’s like a fucking bowl of Lucky Charms. Unfortunately, these amount to no real point. From what this reporter can gather, these analogies only serve to help the listener understand that the narrator (Christopher Robinson) was right, and “she” was wrong. That bitch. CR did indicate that he had plans to overcome his non-specific struggle. These ambitions are further (vaguely) outlined with an allusion to “the looming day’s adventure.” I hope it went well. She can’t wait around forever. Or can she? It should be clear at this point to discerning readers that there is nothing new or original here, and therefore I can imagine some people liking it.

The puzzling lyrics and sophomoric insight continue throughout the record. On the second track, CR expresses his death wish. He regrets this boldness immediately, and in the next line admits that, underneath a “Lifetime of Pretense”, he merely wishes to escape people talkin’ that BS. CR feels like a “trapped form in a corporate world” and any number (five, so far) of repetitive, trite breakdowns have not managed to liberate him from his existential bondage. This reporter finds it more than unfortunate that CR admits abandoning a time-honored method of escapism: getting high. Let this EP serve as a reminder to everyone about the potential merits of recreational drug use by musicians. But Dick, tell a brotha how it sound like. Caterpillars fall somewhere between Linkin Park and Brand New, given that they make extensive use of electronic shtick, woeful angst, and uninspiring song structures.

Stylistically speaking, it took until about track 4 for me to realize that the subtle atmospheric electro-ambience was not merely a defining characteristic, it seems an unhealthy fixation. This reminds me of a debate between myself and one ||| on the comments boards last week. What happens when you have glossy, meaningless, use of both sequencing AND guitars? Well, this EP is a prime example. I found their guitar licks to be full of shimmer, glimmer, delay, and safety. Quite similar to The Apple seed Cast, in fact (see legendary producer “Ed Rose”). However, it failed to instill the same kind of longing and 9th grade faux nostalgia which “The ‘Cast” seem to be content with dishing out, years ago, and now re-issuing to get more royalties and tour dates. Drums and bass seem to serve the purpose of just being there like the shit Goldilocks thought was just right. No one will notice. That’s the idea. Then the hungry critics come home, notice that all the mediocre shit has been gobbled up, and proceed to wreck shop.

If you like the guitar stylee put forth by many of today’s rock millionaires, pointless but not utterly terrible vocals, all in front of a mild-porridge rhythm section, Caterpillars might be for you. If overly serious ballads and untapped youthful energy get your box wet, you might want to check out handsome white boy Christopher Robinson and his Caterpillars. Dick, however, has discovered that the lyrics actually contain the antidote for this Caterpillar’s venom:

“I almost fell to the ruined/ But then I learned to cover my ears”

Verdickt: 2/5


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