The Directorate is the solo project of CF Abbott. A lover of many a diverse style of music, ranging the fury of metal to the calmness of folk, Abbott truly does take the listener on an unpredictable journey. He established The Directorate to give himself much-needed freedom when it came to fleshing out his musical ideas. I can’t deny that it was a great listen.
This seven-track EP opens with “The Broken Man.” It opens with a baroque-esque guitar arpeggio, an understated bass riff and the lines “I’ve been traveling for years / To escape the fear.” This melancholy and sorrow is uplifted ever so slightly by the joy and hopefulness seemingly contained within the instrumental progression; huge piano chords and soft strings emerge from the abyss, along with a gentle drum beat, and while Abbott’s sorrowful lyrics continue, I feel as if he is still hinting at a light lingering towards the end of some tunnel. Reverberating, twangy electric guitar emerges towards the latter half of the track as Abbott sings of perhaps, one day, learning to let it go and accepting the loss of all he knows.
This initial track is huge in both sound and length. Ending somewhere around the nine-minute track, rock-based twists and turns emerge during the second half and Abbott definitely projects a greater sense of optimism both lyrically and musically. He repeats the opening lines yet again, but now the piano, strings and distorted guitar combine in an ethereal, chaotic, cacophony of sound. Closing on a blinding guitar solo, the listener is left exhausted by the second track (and that’s a great accomplishment).
“Everything, You, and Me” is driven by a catchy piano and organ chord progression, warbling strings and Beatles-esque vocals. Psychedelia abounds on this track, but Abbott adds a little bit of himself to this track influenced by a decade long gone. His musical prowess is quite something, when it comes to creating multiple layers of sound; the dreamy, addictive vocal and musical performance is another story altogether.
“You Think… I Don’t Know’” is driven by a jovial take on a tribal drum beat and punchy, upbeat piano chords. A whirring sound drones endlessly in the background, adding to the confusing, but interesting atmosphere Abbott creates on this track. Guitar chords explode during the chorus, as do his melancholic vocals, lamenting a time long gone.
This is an enjoyable listening experience. While influenced by numerous styles, CF Abbott manages to pave his own sound out of those created by his many idols. It was an unexpected journey of twists and turns. With some tracks taking the progressive rock route of stretching out for ten minutes or so, I was pleasantly surprised to find that none of it grew boring. The Directorate is definitely one to check out.
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