Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Decoder Ring - Decoder Ring


In an industry where spoon-feeding audiences lyrical hooks rather than providing emotive clues through music, Decoder Ring are at odds with the de rigueur.  Very rarely, if at all, do they allow vocals of any sort to mark the passage of their songs, which swell and fall away in a tide of riffs, pads and percussion.

On this, their self-titled d├ębut, the original 5 piece line-up build soundscapes that would be at home in a full-length feature film.  In fact, the next official record released by the band was the soundtrack to the Australian film, Somersault, to critical acclaim.

Mine calls it prog but then says she likes it whereas I, after some further thought, would be more inclined to call it avant garde - a bit arty and a bit introspective.  It melds electronica and rock in a way not often done and certainly very few do it as well as Decoder Ring do.  Interestingly, in doing a little research for this review, I found out an old acquaintance of mine, while not on this particular recording, is now playing bass in the band.  So this one's for Stef.



This album prompted much discussion between YourZ and Mine(self) about just what exactly denotes prog - and with at least one song at well over 10 minutes this album could definitely wear the label.  But there's something about most of it that makes me want to listen - as opposed to yesterday's effort which just made me snort with barely-suppressed laughter.

Perhaps it's the melding of guitar and electronica - kind of a Metallica/Depeche Mode mash-up, if you will - that makes it the ideal driving music.  As YourZ has pointed out, it's a great soundtrack - and that's exactly what you need when the road is unfolding new scenery in front of you every minute.  OK, there were moments when they put on their serious prog-pants and went hard at it - but then the skip button is only a finger-push away.  For the rest of it, I'd say...


For more information: http://www.decoderring.com.au/

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