Jason Presley and Adam Headrick have a bit of a history together. Both of them were born in Stillwater, OK in July of 1972, picked up the guitar in high school and started a band. In 1997 they both moved to New York and founded a group called Prankster that had success and performed from 2001 to 2008. Their latest project is called Backward Collective and they have just released their third album called Cimarron Plaza.
The songs on Cimarron Plaza are hazy, dreamlike soundscapes that all contain well-written songs that fans of bands like Pink Floyd, Mazzy Star and Tom Waits will appreciate. Throughout the album the songs feels spacious with the emphasis on atmosphere. There is a decent amount of percussion implemented here and there but it often lays slightly below the surface to support the guitars, synths, organ, etc.
The album starts with one of the most rhythmically heavy songs on the album entitled “Apricot Lincoln,” which relies on electronic drums and a bass line to carry the energy. Piano and guitar melodies overlap creating a unique vibration of frequencies, which feel distinct from the bass and drums. “No, Don't Say So” is more indicative of what you can expect throughout the album. It’s a mood-driven atmospheric psychedelic with a crooning vocal performance.
“Writer's Block Blues” is the first track you notice Pink Floyd’s influence as the vocal melody and guitar riff sound like it could be a B-side from The Wall. I absolutely loved the ideas and lyrics on “Cell Phone Addiction.” It is a completely relevant tune that also has a bit of humor. Some the lyrics of note are “blank stares at the screen a thousand miles in between no thoughts of things to do no living left for you take the pill and pull it out play the game lose the doubts.” It was also cool not contrived how they placed little snippets of sound bites that sounded similar to noises your cell phone would make.
The band pulls off a number of other tunes you won't want to miss including “In Polite Company” and “White Flags.” Overall the album is a success. There were times I felt the fluidity could have been better and I also thought around the tenth song that a complete sit through of the album was testing my patience but these minor issues were easy to look past. Cimarron Plaza contains original material that blends experimental atmosphere with accessible songs that were a treat to listen to.
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