…Bender – S/T (CD)

There is a definite difficulty in trying to categorize or even talk about what type of band …Bender is. The closest thing I can come with is an ambient band that creates soundscapes, not ever conforming to what would be expected from them if they were a more conformational band. Vocals on tracks such as “Trouble Is” are not just to purvey a specific message but also to step in and provide some sort of additional instrumentation to tracks that are admittedly sparse.

An interesting decision is made by the band by having the vast majority of the tracks on this disc have “normal runtimes” – there are distinct differences between the tracks, but what has seemed to be common practice for these more experimental and ambient bands are to have 10-plus minute compositions with different movements. What exactly is …Bender trying to do with these easily digestible tracks? It seems like the pauses between the tracks really allow listeners to refresh their palette and allow them to digest more of the music than if the band had just placed a behemoth, 15-minute track on the disc. The thin tendrils of music that are so common on this discreally force the individual to hang onto any noise as if it was a life preserver; the rub with …Bender is that the arrangements are such that listeners actually want to be pulled ashore instead of just giving up on their life. The one thing that has a common outlet on this disc is the distorted, almost-carnival like atmosphere that is cultivated by …Bender.

While a minor part of the earlier tracks on the disc, this sound really comes to fruition during “Bear Me Away”. There is no lack of value for this disc, as the 67-minute track length may show, but the fact is that all of the tracks have enormous re-play value. This is due to the tremendous gravity in which each of the tracks were created, and the cohesion that each has in reference to the rest of the disc. This album does not just stick together a number of three-chord wonders and hope that a few make it to the top, but this is truly a journey through the minds of this band. The album may not be for the listener of average music, but for those individuals who wish to both expand their horizons and challenge their skill as listeners, this may be the album for them.

Top Tracks: Laugh With Me, Grief For All

Rating: 6.3/10

…Bender – S/T / 2005 Satellite / 14 Tracks / http://www.bend.tv / http://www.satelliterecords.net / Reviewed 29 June 2005

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