The Gathering – Home (CD)

Wait, did I just hear The Cardigans? Or is it The Cranberries? Oh wait, it’s The Gathering, a band with a lead vocalist that ties together those two styles with a little bit of Siouxsie Sioux to make something that is bizarre enough to be famous. The fact that nothing more than vocal warbling can be a bridge on a track like “Shortest Day” shows the ability of the band to contextualize something that does not make sense normally in the track.

The chiaroscuro in this track between the driving guitars and drums and the meandering vocals of the bridge shows individuals right from the start that the band is not just a fluke; they know exactly what they are doing on “Shortest Day”, and this can be extended to the full length of “Home”. “In Between” is something that is much different in overall sound than “Shortest Day”. The intensity and pushy nature of the guitars and drums are sedated seriously for this track, so that the vocals are given that much more emphasis. In doing that, the style of The Gathering has moved more into a blend of Tori Amos, Jethro Tull, and System of a Down.

The extended instrumental opening to “Alone” establishes the bass and synthesizer as dominant during this track; while Anneke is trying to curve eir voice around the slinky compositions, it takes a few moments before The Gathering seem to be working as a cohesive unit. When they do, the fullness of the band is fully able to be explored, and this is perhaps the money shot of the entire disc. “Waking Hour” is the first of two five-plus minute tracks, the two tetons that The Gathering have to cross before they can be finished with this album. Do they make a successful go at it? The qualified answer is yes, that the band is able to blend the Spartan sounds of the beginning of the track with a swirling, full composition that gets more so as the track spins on. The Gathering make pop music for the individual that actually gives discs time to grow on them; “Home” is not an album that is singles-oriented, for sure. I know by the end of this album that The Gathering have another fan on board; here’s to hoping that the band is able to cut more albums in the near future.

Top Tracks: Alone, Shortest Day

Rating: 7.0/10

The Gathering – Home / 2006 The End / 13 Tracks / http://www.gathering.nl / http://www.theendrecords.com / Reviewed 12 July 2006

[JMcQ]

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