I first came across Dredg several years ago, in between Leitmotif and El Cielo. They were an art-rock band that definitely stood out among its contemporaries. When they were good, they were great. And they were amazing live. But after three full-length albums, they had yet to make one that was truly, 100% consistently good straight through. The only reason I would point that out and hold them to such a high standard is because they were undeniably capable. And they have finally proved it with The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion.
I heard the first two singles from the album well in advance; Saviour, and I Don’t Know. The first was better than anything that had come before, and then the second was even better than that:
My hopes were high, but all past Dredg albums had been preceded by their strongest tracks as singles, and only time would tell if the album would be just brilliant, or truly amazing.
The album opens with Pariah, a single-worthy track every bit as good as the two I just mentioned. Mark Engles’ verse guitar riff is hooky and thundering, yet it’s not overused; Each layer of the song has its own space to breathe in. Dino Campanella’s drum work is full of tricky little trap doors and fills. Piano and child vocals support Gavin Hayes’ paced delivery, before the band takes flight into an anthemic chorus, which eventually leads into a rabid, screaming bridge, with a vocal assault Hayes hasn’t unleashed since the band’s early Orph EP.
Ten of the album’s tracks- all that are easily considered “proper” songs and separated from the usual interludes and jam sessions- are fantastic.
In addition to the two previously mentioned singles, a third- Information– was released overseas. We’re thrilled to point out that the video was filmed at Enjoy Human studios, Antiquiet’s video crew’s home base, and the location of all Antiquiet-sponsored events to date.
Even with the three singles on the table, the album holds great cards in its sleeve. Light Switch, for example. It opens with a swaggering, bluesy rock riff, which gives way to a brief lullaby tease before booming drums come in- a dynamic rock and roll song, and currently my personal favorite from the album. For another example- despite the brooding title and lyrics- Mouring This Morning is upbeat, even danceable.
Dredg albums have always been littered with instrumental deviations, and this newest album is no exception. But out of eighteen tracks, only four are the expected sort of experimenty detours, and one of those- penultimate track Down To The Cellar– is very listenable to say the least. Another four, the brief Stamp Of Origin tracks, land somewhere between indulgence and proper song. But most importantly, just about every single track in between marks among their best.
I feel like we’ve already got several formidable candidates for the best album of 2009, but Dredg has definitely delivered one more. The band has truly come into their own, and are poised to be one of the best bands of the upcoming decade.
The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
June 9th, 2009
Ohlone Recordings / Independent Label Group
02. Drunk Slide
04. Stamp Of Origin: Pessimistic
05. Light Switch
06. Gathering Pebbles
08. Stamp Of Origin: Ocean Meets Bay
11. I Don’t Know
12. Mourning This Morning
13. Stamp Of Origin: Take A Look Around
14. Long Days And Vague Clues
15. Cartoon Show Room
17. Down To The Cellar
18. Stamp Of Origin: Horizon
Reviews published prior to February 23, 2015 used a 1-5 star rating system.