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Thursday, January 22, 2009

CD Review: Spylacopa - s/t EP

Spylacopa - s/t EP
2008 Rising Pulse Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



Intellects attract other intellects, particularly in music. It's sometimes hard to fathom a merge between Thom Yorke, Beck and PJ Harvey despite the sheer thrill factor of such a proposition. However, if you're really in-tune with what's happening in today's metal underground, reading a roster of momentarily extradited artists such as Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan, Jeff Caxide of Isis, Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice, plus Candiria's John LaMacchia, proves more than relevant.

Granted, there's a teeming number of side projects cropping up every month (the Isis guys alone have so many external groups and solo pieces it's easy to lose count), yet it's hard to ignore the chance to hear Greg Puciato and Julie Christmas rail and croon amidst a slinky, drop-tuned metallic groove on Spylacopa's "Bloodletting" from their self-titled debut EP. The payoff between these two yelping vocalists is its own reward, much less the pounding rhythms and furiously tugging guitars on "Bloodletting" and its preceding track "Haunting a Ghost."

If you think this meeting arrangement of musical minds is irreverent on paper, certainly Spylacopa's gorgeous piano and coldwave currents on the surprisingly earthy "Together We Become Forever" plays cascading foil to the bombastic aggression previously issued. Irreverent is hardly apt description to such brave mood shifting, even as Spylacopa drifts out of the whispery synth ostinato completing "Together We Become Forever" before picking up the pace with the alt-punk-grunge stomper "Staring at the Sound." A little bit Mudhoney, a little bit Meat Puppets, a little bit Today is the Day, "Staring at the Sound" gets mucky and then subtly effervescent with buried distortion channels and a sonic-scrubbed guitar solo from John LaMacchia before disappearing into a calming key gorge.

LaMacchia's playing is wonderfully inspired on this project, naturally making the most of Candiria's hiatus and creatively fusing rock and metal strikes into obvious and subliminal spots. He smartly breaks through the shivery tranquility of the Dinosaur Jr.-esque "I Should Have Known You Would" with chunky chord interruptions which soon assimilate into the maudlin overtone of the song. A touching and graceful solo in the middle of "I Should Have Known You Would" adds thoughtful grandeur you likely weren't expecting at face value coming to this EP.

In fact, Spylacopa's entire project is a pleasant left-of-center shot filled with as much soothing charisma as blunt force. Ambient and forceful, this EP is so darned good it casts that special leave 'em wanting more ethos, particularly just to see what other designs are weaving inside these talented minds...

Rating: ****

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