Like the mighty Sex Panther, Cedarsmoke are stinging the nostrils with their latest release Into The Wild World. The album is available now, from the 22nd of October, featuring sludgy guitars & Cathy Freeman body-bullet drums. Speaking of the vibrant cover art in our Cedarsmoke interview (available here), lead tra-la-la-ist Jon Cloumassis said:
"I actually had a rough vision and idea of art for the album prior to making it. We collaborated with a graphic designer to put it together and we’re really happy with the end result. I pictured a collage artwork and wanted the scattered images on the cover to be references to the lyrics throughout the album. Things like the moon, cow, dishes, spoons, snakes & ladders represent some of the fairy-tale or childish imagery in the lyrics and contrast things like the chemical compounds, airplanes, syringes which represent the darker and more adult themes on the album."
Have a listen and wrap your hands around these themes yourself:
Let's get into the meat and potatoes.
The album starts with the punch of the drums and the jangle of the keys in 'We Settle Into The Night.' Jon Cloumassis comes in with his trademark Aussie drawl. It teeters on the edge of singing and spoken-word, and always delivers his honest brand of storytelling. The song takes us into an uplifting key bridge, with Maddie Keinonen from Dumb Things lending backing vocals. This song is reminiscent but hopeful, the perfect launchpad for the tracks to come.
Track number two begins with a roll on the drum skins, a single high note on the piano and then a full swing from the band, complete with harmonica-flavoured goodness. 'Never Mind' goes back and forth from a thin-textured raw vocal & drum section and back into the soiree. We get some really cool guitar to hang your hat up to by the end.
'Being Young Is Getting Old' greets us with a guitar handshake and more retrospect than me crying in the shower after my big breakup. The chorus is actually really catchy & well done. The whole song is, in fact. After listening to this song, the little angel & devil who pop up on your shoulder during conscience-addling decisions will always speak in Jon's 'Strayan rasp. You've been warned.
'Some Things' continues the retrospection inspection, but this time the shower water is icy. This song is raw and emotive, with pensive piano plucks and a guitar just slowly shaking its head in disappointment. The chorus is a trip down memory lane, and the palm-muted guitar pump-up lends itself perfectly to the lyrics, before we go to Bridge Town. I like this song.
El nombre five comes in with another tinge of regret, but this song goes into a big boisterous chorus. The whole album features poetic tale-weaving, and we really see that on 'Half Bad.' You'll think of this song everytime the clock strikes nine from here on out. A big old flange-y gained-up guitar monster comes and gobbles us up at the peak of the track.
'Anything' then comes blasting in with up-beat drums and a 50's style guitar riff. This is in stark contrast to the register of the preceding tracks, but still has the patented forlorn look-back lyrics. It sounds like a song they left on the cutting room floor of the movie Grease, for being too brutal.
The next track is called 'The Bitter End,' and it grips you immediately. Again, the storytelling is running thick and fast here. You really feel for the characters in this album, and this song exemplifies this particularly.
'Time To Leave' comes in with a peppy drum number and some old-school guitar jingling. The noodle-guitar we hear halfway through is when the song really starts to pick up.
Kyu-ban comes in like a lullaby. 'Sideways' takes us on a sleepy journey past the blue moon in our flying beds. Serene strings and sighs keeping us afloat.
This leads us into numero dix, 'Sadly Ever After.' This song again takes us to a classic swingin' fifties riff, but with the gain turned up to 67-million scovilles. This song sounds like a musical number from the movie Cry Baby, but if the protagonist stayed in his room too long and turned the gain way-up on his guitar. Single-tears plopping down his motorcycle jacket, one after the other. The guitar licks at the end are when it gets really spicy. And the sad piano clinks fading us out, like emo 'Still D.R.E.'
'An August Night' is really interesting. This is where we go straight into ballad county. Once the drums shuffle in, you'll start swayin'. Is it weird that I can imagine this song being done by a hardcore band with gutterals and a breakdown at the end? That's a sure sign that they're feeling something.
Our penultimate song is 'Only Pain.' Despite a title you would hear on a metalcore album, this one is actually quite easy-listening. Catchy in words and juicy of string, this song is moist doicent, moist doicent indoid. The reason it is 5 minutes is so that the song can run into a big guitar section, however I thought it would build into something more hectic than what it does. It's still doicent, I just thought we would get more of a face melter. I can imagine this being incredible live though, with goosebumps pouring out of my eyes and tears on my skin.
The final song of the album, 'Those Days Are Gone,' is another good old tear jerker. And don't misunderstand, I like me some good tear jerkers. I'm a firm believer that the last song on the album should always secretly be the best. This one is good, but could use more of an emotional pay-off. Perhaps they weren't looking for a big outpouring of emotion though, and this works in the sense that after such a bitter retrospective look at yesteryears, perhaps we are left feeling numb. The conclusion to the tale woven throughout may not be triumph or catharsis or rage. It might be anhedonia. In the words of all-time great & all-round ledge, CJ McMahon, "There is nothing."
Overall, this album takes us through so many highs and lows. The storytelling is sublime, and the instrumentation top-notch. I rate this album a hefty 11 Flying Spaghetti Monsters out of a possible 16.75. Cedarsmoke are playing at legendary West End joint, The Bearded Lady on the 5th of November. So be there or be pi-squared.