Songs of Eta Carinae
Like a slightly under-developed Black Heart Procession, Orbit Service ply goth aesthetics to country music. Low-end rumbles, minimal chord-progression and a slinky beat dictate much of the course of this album; it’s brooding and bleak, but lacks much of anything of interest to add to the mix. Occasionally, the group will shine a light on some crackling synth undercurrent, and singer Randall Frazier sounds like he’s put some time in as a hardcore front man, but these aren’t necessarily checks in the plus column. Tracks like the instrumental “Phase Cancel” show the band giving subtle nods toward prog- and post-rock, both admirable steps outside their comfort zone. “Sparrows,” possibly the best track on here, plays everything close to the chest but gets a lot of mileage out of it’s serrated, delayed guitar riffs and minor-chord piano lilt; but on “A Hallucination” and the beginning half of the epic “Asphyxia,” goth gains too much ground, relegating the sanity to the background and indulging in tepid pools of reverb-heavy vocals. This sort of melodrama can quash any attempts at emotional revival and while a good chunk of this disc survives untainted, the aftertaste might keep you away from a second run.
Beta-lactam Records: www.blrrecords.com