Much like the Just A Fire disc released by Asian Man this last year, â€œTwelvesâ€ is a completely upending of the roots of the record label and a complete step towards a sound for Asian Man that canâ€™t be described as â€œskaâ€. Bagheera really just reminds me of a more professional version of The Devil is Electric/Operation Cliff Clavin, albeit with a slightly more experimental edge. By far, the crux of the disc happens during â€œNot Chasing Ghostsâ€, which has Theodore during eirâ€™s best Michael Stipe impression while Heatherâ€™s vocals are stretched and distorted far enough out of the normal range to give the track a much more ethereal feel.
â€œAdmission/Concessionâ€ creates a tripartite disharmonial noise, with Theodore/Heathers voice providing a stark contrast with the sequenced drum beat and strung-out guitar on the track. However, each track on â€œTwelvesâ€ is so different from every other track on the disc that I find it hard to believe that they are all coming from the same band.
â€œBetter At Nightâ€ is a punk-romp that goes into a noise-laden Inkubus Sukkubus-esque vocal delivery by Heather. The ability of the guitar during â€œBetter At Nightâ€ to stay somewhat constant in the maelstrom of random songs is a quality that is admirable, and really anchors the song down to some key fundamentals. â€œSolsticeâ€, the penultimate track on â€œTwelvesâ€, is probably the low point on the disc but still is head and shoulders above ninety percent of the music currently being released. Heatherâ€™s spoken-out vocals with a mission provide an opposite the ebb and flow of the distorted guitar. â€œIdleâ€ os the perfect ending to what could be a perfect album; more straight-forward than the tracks that immediately preceded it, both Heather and Theodore harmonize on this track, alongside a keyboard-esque guitar that plants them firmly in the land of nu-emo music.
With this exploratory able, Bagheera has stopped in a myriad of different locales, sampled many different styles, and yet can tie this album into one large edifice, one monumental skyscraper of idea and form. In putting â€œLong Divisionâ€ first on the CD and â€œIdleâ€ the last, Bagheera really has made a complete circuit around this world of sound â€“ each track, while completely different from each other, are kindred in their Spartanness as well as general sound. This may be a debut release, but the hands and minds that made this album come to fruition are masterful.
Top Tracks: Long Division, Admission/Concession
Bagheera â€“ Twelves / 2004 Asian Man Records / 13 Tracks / http://www.bagheeramusic.com / http://www.asianmanrecords.com / Reviewed 13 March 2004