Care Again. is a musical project by Brendan Kerrigan currently based in Portland, OR. Divide & Conquer reviewed his previous EP We Don’t Get Even, We Get Mad under the name Moss and we are more than happy to see him return with his latest full-length album Don Quixote.With this new release, Kerrigan brings back more of his shimmering surrealism that we all fell in love with in his prior release. Kerrigan infuses in this recording ‘90s indie rock with early ’00s psychedelic pop that magnifies his intent to introduce to the world his brand of unique garage rock. The album was recorded and mixed from years 2014-2020 in bedroom studios at different intervals in different cities such as San Francisco, Napa, Eureka, Portland and even West Palm Beach. The influx of places has led to subtle signatures of these settings being imprinted into the recording. In the background, you may hear running faucets, washing machines, car alarms and movie samples, which marks the sound with a very distinctive pulse.
The album title, artwork and theme all reference the Spanish classic novel of the same name, which points to Kerrigan’s upbringing due to his Mexican mother’s heritage. The character, Don Quixote, dared to dream an impossible dream and reject reality. It is due to this route of escapism that has led Don Quixote on his adventures and Kerrigan with the making of this album, a journey that is as much about legacy as it is about following your dreams.
Don Quixote gets started with “Separation Of A Mixture,” where the sounds of bongos drip into the cacophony of sounds on the backdrop that evokes a very carnivalesque feel. The sounds are whimsical with strumming that sounds like coming from a mandolin. The clashing of waves adds to the reverberating effects. The vocals come across a bit buried from the instrumentals, but at certain moments the fidelity shines through. Arresting acoustic guitar spins a warm sound on “Stutter Neatly.” The vocals come in drenched in reverb. The echo-y notes really carry the music forward. A sauntering drumming beat adds touches of drama to the track. The clashing of instrumentals at times sound chaotic, but there is order in the chaos. The sounds are electric and eccentric at once. Shimmering guitars and tons or reverb introduce “Easier.” A spaghetti Western vibe is harnessed. This sounds like something from a Tarantino movie. I greatly enjoyed the spangly beats and cinematic sounds. I think the reverb and distortion worked really well here.
Rumbling guitars create a wall of sound. The vibes were ominous at first but once the song progressed the sounds grew with more levity with highlights from the xylophone. On “Sonna (Windmills),” chiming of bells and dissonant electronic layers give off a video game feel. The chiptune embellishments gave the track an ‘80s-inspired vibe. The randomness gave the track a stir of the moment feel, as if at some point in time the band was inspired to improvise on the recording of this track. On “Sick Of It,” ghostly sounds arise from the synths as more guitars filter in. The mixture of percussions added to the ominous factor. Up next, the music becomes more metal-influenced with one endless strand of guitar riffs, wailing to the forefront of this song. The vocals continue against this droning backdrop. They sound separate from the music as if Kerrigan had recorded the vocals and instrumentation separately. There was something to the delivery and energy that I could appreciate. Fuzzy guitars carry forth more of the distortion found in the previous recordings on “Sonna (Giants).” The synths and chiming of bells added to the ambience of this \ track. The vocals are echo-y here. The hazy and dreamy notes will really transport listeners from their everyday lives with this dynamic closer.
The album lavishly enchants listeners with a wide array of instrumentation from acoustic guitar, upright piano, mandolin, drum kit, bongos, synths as well as field recordings that fuses unusual soundscapes with warm instrumentation. Kerrigan’s eccentric sound will speak to those who are fans of the more whimsical, quirky side of life. Don Quixote is definitely something that should be on your must-listen playlist.
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