THREACE, DRAG CITY RECORDS
An aptly named third effort for Chicago’s CAVE, Threace reaches out and grabs you by the lapels of your ‘70s leisure suit from the opening track “Sweaty Fingers.” Rife with dynamic tension and introspective turns, this band’s-band carves out protracted jams and funky bass-lines that are capable of rivalling anything from the aforementioned era. Tunnelling deeper into CAVE’s signature six-minute-plus melodies, twin guitarists Jeremy Freeze and Cooper Crain collaboratively wend and wind their way through subterranean world of wonders. Nostalgic yet forward-thinking in his approach, Crain also furnishes CAVE with a lush shag carpet of hypnotic keyboards. Ray Manzarek would weep at the shimmering waves of electronic ebullience that pour forth from his organic imaginings.
A loose yet ready attitude pervades Threace’s serpentine course, from the nimble circuitry of “Silver Headband” to the cosmic wallowing of “Arrow’s Myth.” Complementing the Puente-like complexity of the Ipanema-via-Montreux chic of “Shikaawa,” the tentative rays of “Slow Bern” possess more fuzzed-out grooves than a corduroy beanbag chair. Driven beyond happy tangential accidents, the progressively corporeal expressions are supported by supple-yet-strong sonic scaffolding. Intuitive bassist Dan Browning and dogged drummer Rex McMurray practice Emersonian transcendentalism amongst spiralling jazz-flutes and saxophones.
Recorded on a 1″ 8-track Studer machine, each carefully layered construction finds the ensemble locked into a pocket and homing in on a distant star. The auto-erotic boogies and druggy Hendrix homages that underpin CAVE’s sweeping panoramas reveal the sophisticated side of distortion and feedback. Tickling the ivories and treading heavily on their wah-pedals, Freeze and company formulate a cooled-down but equally resplendent rejoinder to the sanguine fluidity of their previous LP/CD release Neverendless.
By Christine Leonard