Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Distance Waits is a fitting title for the most recent offering from New Jersey’s own (Damn) This Desert Air. The EP comes three years after their crushing debut, but the time has been well spent for the quintet. The songs on their self-released debut EP were all top notch, contributing some of the best space rock in recent memory, leaving fans clamoring for more. As the wait for a new record grew, so did the bands audience, and more importantly their sound. The outer space landscapes explored on their debut were massive and epic, but those were just the beginning. (Damn) This Desert Air have stayed busy since, garnering attention from national publications such as Alternative Press, a triumphant cover of “Sergeant Politeness” on The Nurse Who Loved Me: A Tribute to Failure, and landing themselves support from record labels both stateside and international. Their debut was the jumping off point, but Distance Waits is the show we all came to see. Released overseas through Bastardized Recordings and Pop Up Records in the United States, (D)TDA have traveled light years between releases, building upon their foundation while moving in new directions. There is a careful attention paid to detail and atmosphere throughout the record, helped by its crisp shimmering production from the band and mixing from Brian Virtue (Jane’s Addiction/Deftones).
The album opens with the soft drifting guitars of “Ghost I Own,” a gorgeous spaced out rocker that soars out from this universe. Vocalist Craig Cirinelli, bassist Alf Bartone, and drummer Ti Kreck simultaneously ease into the mix with a beautiful backdrop for the guitars and vocals to expand through. Upon releasing the first hook of the track, the band breaks free into a ferocious groove. Cirinelli lets the power in his voice shine as the band stomps into a heavy stellar dirge downwards. “Trembles,” blasts forward with a hypnotic rhythm section immersed in the layers of guitars from Shawn Reams and John Kohler. Their riffs buzz with winding distortion into the hook, as Cirinelli sings, “set yourself, set yourself, on fire” with booming anthemic quality. There is a great deal of post-hardcore influence that can be heard, from the complex rhythmic fills, to the muscular guitar progressions; (D)TDA once again prove themselves ready and willing to fill the void Quicksand and Shiner have left in your life. Their sound is bigger than any one genre classification though, as Distance Waits explores post-rock, space rock, prog, grunge, and shoegaze, often at the same time.
Exploration is in full bloom upon the arrival of “Made of Gold,” a jaw dropping “ballad” of sorts, drenched in glorious atmospherics and a passionate vocal performance. Cirinelli’s voice is strong and unique, and he lets his smooth breathy rasp take center stage as he sings the visionary introduction, “I slept in the Earth today, imagined I grew from the rain”. The track oozes with delicate detail and crashing soundscapes for a gentle texture midway through the EP. The band’s most recent addition, Mike Wolff, adds a simplistic guitar line that subtly creeps through the ambiance with rich tone and lucid direction. Listen to this track on headphones or your finest speakers available, and enjoy as you sink into the deep calm. “Your Atlantis” slams back into the heavier realm of the band, with alternating guitar riffs that feed off one another creating a magnetic controlled chaos. Following the sharp hitting hook, Kreck dives into a mesmerizing shifting time signature, with expansive fills and hard charging blasts. The bridge is booming with epic gang vocals and a commanding performance from Cirinelli.
(D)TDA take a slow burning ride on “Before Sunrise,” a track that builds very gradually over time, periodically bursting with layered guitar attacks and the crisp density of Kreck’s drumming. The song pushes through various themes and movements in a condensed amount of time, as Reams angular melody unwinds into crashing rhythmic crescendos. It’s clear the band spent a great deal of time working to make these songs intricate and complex while retaining a great deal of accessibility, and their work has paid off in an album that allows for new discoveries with each repeated listen. “Ghost I Own (Division Mix)” closes the EP, an extended bonus remix from Miami’s own space rock collective Digital Homicide. The reimagining of the albums introduction, and arguably stand out track, is complete with a more ethereal nature provided by synth and cellos for a peaceful conclusion to a stellar record. (Damn) This Desert Air have once again left us with a hunger for more, as the album clocks in at just under a half hour, leaving their fans eagerly awaiting a full length release. Distance Waits is the record to put them on the map, and the time to take notice has arrived.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 3:18 AM