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Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Amber Spyglass- Accelerating Parcae


Artist: Amber Spyglass
CD Title: Accelerating Parcae
Label: Decorative Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 9/5/04

Having built a fairly strong reputation with their 2001 self-titled EP, Boston-based duo Amber Spyglass have now returned with their full-length debut. Recorded over the span of nearly a year and a half, Accelerating Parcae juxtaposes mellow organic rock with ethereal electronics and trip-hop/electronica grooves. Vocalist/lyricist Kelly Godshall, who also tackles keyboard, has a full, strong voice that, while occasionally wandering off key, carries the songs nicely over John DeGregorio's rhythm guitar backdrops, lead work, and programming. Guest bassist David Chervenak, who appears on about half of the album's tracks, competently fills out the lower end of the band's sound. The resulting album, while at times a bit too sparse and at other times very slightly rough around the edges, is a fairly solid and interesting set as a whole.

Overall, the album's material is fairly mellow, occasionally punctuated by more electronic or heavier offerings, the most extreme example being the relatively intense eastern psychedelic rock of "Catalyst Groove". There are a number of other tracks that stand out. The plodding lounge rocker "Red Dust" injects the band's sound with a slightly odd but nicely implemented western flavor. "Little Things" is wrapped around a killer electro-bass groove and shuffling electronic rhythms with an all-out dance chorus. The somewhat whimsical synth work of the bass-driven mellow rocker "Divide" certainly creates an interesting vibe, while the band's cover of David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans" is fairly inventive and original with a beautiful acoustic rock intro and a nicely reworked chorus. The album's other songs are, perhaps, not as immediately striking. They are, however, generally quite good and hold up on repeat listens due to fairly intricate and interesting songwriting blended with solid performances.

Amber Spyglass's Accelerating Parcae is, as a whole, a very well executed slice of mellow electro-rock that will likely appeal to fans of bands like The Sundays or 10,000 Maniacs. Its somewhat generic (albeit still well done) acoustic rock offerings are offset by a number of more memorable songs that incorporate rhythmic electronics and occasionally heavier rock elements for an album that's slightly more diverse and adventurous than the comparative norm. Some rock fans may find it a bit too mellow or electronic for their tastes at times, while ethereal fans may find the opposite to be true, but, overall, it finds a nice middle ground that should please a fairly wide range of listeners.

 

Amber Spyglass website: www.amberspyglass.net

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