A PLACE IN HELL EP REVIEW - Brian Tucker, Star News
The band’s full length album “Away with Funeral Music” last year was a blistering and engaging experimental indie rock album, one where you heard complex ideas at work and at the same time sense that something larger, even better, was coming. It did, and throughout 2014 the band posted a video here and there that revealed a new song.
A Bottle Volcanic released last week an EP of those four songs and they are excellent.
Atmospheric, caustic and layered, “A Place in Hell” works like a concept album in the vein of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” or Alice Cooper’s “From the Inside,” not in length and musicality, but in emotional veracity. The title track is textured with frantic production – soundscapes and percussion come in and fade out and acoustic guitar wades in against psychedelic singing. The song is melodic and apocalyptic all at once, broken hearted ambiance never sounded so rich.
“Hello, Operator” is one of my favorite songs all year, an encapsulation of calm and fury that explodes beautifully. The song is about ebb and flow, of patience and disarray, built around ethereal singing that succumbs to battered, scathing desperation. The prickly bass playing gives way to blazing, buzz saw guitar riffs before Michael Edwards delivers “My heart stopped beating! Hello, operator! I can’t feel my arms!” It’s a fantastic track that tries to be still but won’t.
These new songs are haunting and emotionally biting, layered and nuanced enough to deliver something new the more they’re heard. “Smokin’ Gun” is three minutes of insanely fun garage rock and “Kaleidoscope Engine” is a tender mini-epic. Its surprising “Kaleidoscope Engine” doesn’t close the album (“Smokin’ Gun” does) given its huge musical arc and Edward’s scorching but somehow hopeful refrain of “Gotta find another way” again and again.
I’m opposed to citing a band or an album as being a top favorite or things like that. There’s just too much great music out there to enjoy to make a mountain and put one up there. That said, “A Place in Hell” would be clawing around the edges way up high. Its great music.
You can download or stream our new EP, A Place In Hell here!