The Transcendents as far as I can tell is pretty much one guy named Chris Pole. He hails from New Zealand and recently released a ten-song self-titled album The Transcendents. He mentions early War On Drugs and The Streets as comparisons but also mentions Sparklehorse as his most obvious comparison. In all honesty, I don’t hear the Sparklehorse comparison because Pole doesn’t sound like Mark Linkous nor does the music but that’s fine by me.
The music on the album often sounds dissonant and separated. There were times I thought two songs were playing. Hey maybe this is some next level type music my brain can’t handle or Pole still needs some work. It might be a bit of both but I’m willing to bet more on the latter.
One thing I can say for sure is there are some original concepts here. The major issue for me and probably most everyone else is that there is very little here that is aesthetically pleasing to the ears. Perhaps the most innovative thing that Pole is doing is being ambitious when it comes to rhythmic timing. There are a lot of sounds that start and stop at unconventional times but Pole hasn’t yet found a way for it to be attractive. I like music that screws with the part of your brain that is concerned with balance (see Aphex Twin, Max Tundra or US Maple) but you still need something to hold on to.
The first song “Drug Mule” revolves around a fast drumbeat and guitar. There is no low-end just spoken word and manipulated vocal parts. The second track “Everything Has Proven To Be Futile” sounds like a soundcheck for a group of musicians who are severely intoxicated while the third track “Daily Mail” is perhaps the least vertigo inducing song on the album. Do not, I repeat, do not ingest any psychedelics before listening to “Circle Unit Document.” I was starting to freak out completely sober.
Pole may be on to something with his music but it needs some tweaking and something besides dissonance and confusion to make you stay. The creativity is there. This is a case of wait and see.
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