C’est Mortel

C’est Mortel

C’est Mortel

Two Sheds Music

This five-dude combo from Athens GA hereby kicks the asses of every other instrumental-rock outfit, hard. Twice, actually: this 71-minute record consists of two extended pieces, both of which shred and whisper and slam and cry and throb and . Oh, and both pieces were recorded live on the same day with no overdubs. That’s rock and roll, you bastards, and don’t forget it.

I guess it’s hard to imagine “Your Misfortune Is Our Mirth” existing without Tortoise, but it’s also got roots in early Floyd and early Guns N Roses and Husker Du and Thin Lizzy and Funkadelic and every other guitar band that was ever worth a damn. “YMIOM” just refuses to die, through every permutation: punk stroganoff, metal sludge, nimble post-rock, funky avant-gardism, you name it, they’ve got it. (“Yeah, well I like singing!” “Oh yeah, well, they do that too, at the 21 minute mark!”) It’s literally all over the place, in a good way.

I can’t imagine this is improvised music, either — it’s got to be tightly scripted and planned, because they’re always verging off into different areas that sound like Cheap Trick or Jefferson Starship or Oasis’ trickier bits or the Minutemen or something. By the time “YMIOM” grinds to a halt, you’re wiped out. Go take a walk or a cold shower or something.

Because you’re going to need your energy for “Magnum Opus.” This “set” of nearly 40 minutes starts with little blips and drips, but gets into a very rock context very early (that opening riff sounds like Blue Oyster Cult to me, and BOC is always welcome in my speakers). You know how everyone was always all hyped up on Sigur Ros at first and then went cold on them when the second record sounded too distant, too non-human? Well, this is blisteringly human; you can feel the sweat, you can hear the intent, and you can almost see the looks passing between the musicians as they work out what they’re going to do next.

Five minutes in, the slow build pays off in a huge sheet of loudness. Two minutes after that, they’re already doing the epic that Queen was always too poppy to do. A minute later, the tension has all burnt off in a hail of feedback, and we’re back to drums and bass and something like the “vibraphone” setting on a Radio Shack organ. Guitars start to infiltrate the piece again, and then it’s like the second half of “Layla” would have sounded if Clapton had heard the Smashing Pumpkins back then. And that’s just the first “part” of the damned thing — I haven’t even discussed what happens when the Rush-like synths come in in Part 2 or the hushed acoustic bubbling of Part 3 that explodes into the new wave riffing of the last piece.

Really, people, you have to get this. I didn’t care one bit about Jets by Day (two of the main guys’ main gig) or today’s Athens rock scene until I heard this record, and now I wanna move down there so I can hear these scientists tear shit up. This record is nothing short of fucking amazingness.

Two Sheds Music: http://www.2sheds.com

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