Friday, June 5, 2015

Cassette Review: Dr. Duck & the Marigolds / Ropal Jagnu "Fish Flavored Cream / Decoding" (OJC Recordings)

[$3 // Edition of 10 //]

The first question that I have to answer about this cassette, as per the title of the Dr. Duck & the Marigolds side, is that, no, I would absolutely not eat fish flavored ice cream.   Not even if it tasted like trout.    While I have reviewed Dr. Duck & the Marigolds previously, this is my first time hearing Ropal Jagnu and as such it is a good idea by OJC Recordings to put out this cassette because for those who are already fans of Dr. Duck & the Marigolds (like me) this will help expose them to someone that perhaps they have not yet heard of musically.

The five songs on here from Dr. Duck & the Marigolds are not necessarily acoustic (though they may have an acoustic guitar in them, I can't tell for sure at all times) but they seem to be just a matter of guitar and vocals.    The guitars are clanky and clean, so they don't have many comparisons because everyone today seems to be either into distortion or acoustics.    Vocally it can sound a little bit like Tom Waits, but there is also that Nightwatchman feel (Tom Morello's solo project) and of course with the idea of there being a rusty guitar sound as well this brings out elements of Johnny Cash.    With a surf riff and a lot of melody, I went back and read my old review even though I do remember Dr. Duck & the Marigolds quite well and I feel like most of what I heard in there isn't really coming out in here, but that's not bad at all because it keeps me from having to simply say "more of the same", though if you liked Dr. Duck & the Marigolds before you will certainly enjoy these five new songs.

On the other side of this, we have something that is fairly different by Ropal Jagnu.    It begins with static blasts and the beeping that can only be made by pressing down typewriter keys.   There are sonic whirrs, perhaps bagpipes and a scratchy, sharp feedback.   For some reason, all of this reminds me of rats gnawing at their metal cages, trying to break free.   A distorted spoken word piece comes in and then it's a straight up country song about being satisfied or something before switching over to another song as if we are flipping radio stations.

This all quickly comes to a close with a harsh modem sound, to sort of snap us back into reality and out of the illusion of listening to the radio.    Beeping brings forth laser blasts.   We go back to the modems and then find waves and stomps.   More radio sounds.   Clapping.  Lasers become static blasts that form a rhythm which reminds me of the AWOLNATION song "Sail".      And you knew we weren't getting out of this one without going back to that old radio sound.     I do though enjoy how it feels like it's putting you in this sense of comfort by playing the radio and then zaps you back into reality with the harsh noise it likes to create.

So overall, you have two fairly different artists here and in some ways you could say they are almost at opposite sides of the spectrum.   (Though I once thought of rap and country as being at opposite ends, so maybe there is more out there I'm just not aware of yet and the spectrum will grow even bigger some day for me)  There are no guarentees made by me that if you like one you will like the other because this is simply not that kind of split.   If you like other cassettes released by OJC Recordings though then you are certain to enjoy both of these artists.    Really though, if you happen to be able to get this cassette, you probably should just for the Dr. Duck & the Marigolds side and then consider Ropal Jagnu an added bonus, though I really love both of these sides.

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