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Noisy Neighbors

Review of Caspian’s ‘Live at Old South Church’

New sounds from close to home

CASPIAN

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LIVE AT OLD SOUTH CHURCH


Recorded live in October 2010 at Old South Church in Boston, this record is an approximation of the live Caspian experience, if not quite as visceral. For instrumental bands like this, the beauty (and perhaps the crutch) of song titles is that the “meaning’’ of the sounds leans so heavily on a few scant words. But a song like the especially appropriate “Last Rites’’ - with its 10 minutes of disquieting guitar noise and palpable upsurges of feedback - shoulders its title well. The hallucinatory images it alludes to are lent gravity (both kinds) through the instrumentation. “The Dove’’ is less dynamic, a white noise machine for the eternal sleep; while “ASA’’ is a trilling track of sensory uplift in the mold of Explosions in the Sky - to whom Caspian will always and inevitably be compared. Its trebling high-pitched guitar bolts pierce its overcast veil. The gentle martial drum strokes and looping guitar riffs of “Concrescence’’ accumulate meaning with each repetition but hold back on the expected catharsis. Listening to it unfold feels like staring at your own static image in the mirror, waiting for infinitesimal changes to reveal themselves. (Out now) ESSENTIAL “ASA’’

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