Friday, April 24, 2015
Cassette Review: Rural Carrier "Image of an Other"
[$5 // https://ruralcarrier.bandcamp.com/album/image-of-an-other]
I grew up in a rural area when I was relocated to Durham, CT but the word "rural" will always remind me of the show "30 Rock" and the fake movie inside that world known as "The Rural Juror". Yes, it was intended to be hard to pronounce. Rural Carrier feels more like a member of the postal service to me, but no matter as this cassette doesn't seem to reflect that otherwise.
"Image of an Other" begins with ringing electronic sounds that are combined with space whirrs. It's somewhat "Doctor Who" but there are also these static crashes. It's eerie and haunting and that chilling vibe takes us into an audio clip. This brings out some sort of distorted garage song with elements of punk and two layers of vocals. I feel as if there is an original song on this cassette and a new song is being played over it, which is something you only really get a good sense of with cassettes.
This turns into a lo-fi, bedroom sort of drum machine sound. Dreamy vibes come out that can resemble Smashing Pumpkins somehow and then there are static blasts, drum beats and overall just a great rhythm. By the end of Side A there is some singing again, and oh, the drums are really what you'll be hearing though. You know how most bands have the vocals up in the front with the guitar and then the bass guitar and drums in the background? The drums seem to be at the forefront here.
On the flip side, we have a mechanical, grinding sort of loop. There is static and it begins to sound industrial like Nine Inch Nails. Electronic beats join in, sort of bringing the various stages of Nine Inch Nails' career together. It's a cross between Transformers and that "Tom Sawyer" (Rush) vibe now, but I can't quite place which is more dominant as they could quite possibly be at war with each other.
Somehow the music begins to remind me of "Invader Zim" (maybe the theme song?) and then there is a lot of reverb coming through with whispy vocals. This is some kind of -gaze sound and since it reminds me of the website that I *believe* is called "Sounds Better with Reverb" or something to that effect, I will just pin it down at shoegaze because why not. Distant vocals with ringing guitar loops recall The Consolation Project and then the vocals turn into something like Tom Waits. It's still lo-fi sounding though and it has maintained that notion seemingly throughout.
So "Image of an Other" (as opposed to "another") is about as diverse as it is great. One of my biggest concerns when artists tend to mix up the songs like this, seemingly jumping from genre to genre like it was no big thing, is that the songs still have that flow. You never want to feel like a song is out of place or the changes in your songs make this feel like a compilation rather than being by the same artist. Rural Carrier doesn't suffer from that problem and this is just a beautiful example of how to keep the flow.
On top of that, you just have beautifully crafted songs that would stand out on their own as hit singles, if you will. When Rural Carrier goes into a genre they seem to make it their own. As that last part sort of went into the shoegaze tag, for example, if that was to be turned into a ten or twelve song full length album then you know that it would be a most excellent shoegaze album. So not only is Rural Carrier sampling these genres, they are doing so in such a fine demonstration that the future is so wide open for whatever they should decide to do next.