Connor Wood (electric/acoustic guitar/vocals/percussion), Wesley Boyd (electric guitar/vocals), Jeff Harper (bass) and Aaron Apaul (drums/vocals/noise/tape loops) are the Cyrenaics. From more or less the band's inception they have been releasing music and a lot of it. Their latest is Snake Oil Woman which is too eclectic to fit into one genre. The band jumps all over the place from avant-garde experimental pieces to more traditional pieces. It’s hard to get a grip on a specific style they are going for but there are some gems along the way.
These songs sound like complete live recordings. I could be wrong but that's the general feel of the songs at the very least. Up first is “Spring Forward” which is one of the more straightforward songs on the album. The song doesn’t have much energy and feels like it is dragging its feet. In fact the singer at times sounds as if he is on a heavy dose of Ambien. It's an odd choice for an opener but was still enjoyable. The next song “For The Birds” picks up a little more energy which is provided by the drums. It’s a well-written song and has a classic ’50s pop feel. The vocal harmonies are the best part.
“Conversations With Your Dog I” is where things start to get a little psychedelic in a most peculiar way. The song has a good amount of energy and would have served as a better opener in my opinion. It sounds as if the singer ingested some helium before he sang but it works to their advantage.
The band goes into a classic blue number with “Women & Chicken.” I wanted to hear the vocals more. They needed to be compressed and turned up in the mix. The seven-plus-minute song “River City Jam-Band” is indeed a jam. It sounds improvised. There are noodling guitar solos that never amount to a significant transition. The band goes off the wall experimental via the twilight zone with “SSD Hotline” while “Blue Eyed Rendezvous” sounds like another unorganized jam/noodle song.
The Cyrenaics are churning out a lot of material but not much of it feels too refined. Some of their songs sounds like skeletons that with some more time and effort could be something substantial. The band has talent and I think their live shows would be cool to see. That being said a little more attention to detail on some of the songs may make a big difference.
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