Wide-eyed wonderment and some cleansing fire out of sweet home Chicago.
“I’ve got too much on my plate,” intones Nick Mizock on “Runnin’ Late” and indeed, after five years of a buildup towards his band’s debut album, there’s a lot of mental food to dispense. Stylistically unstable but high on memorable choruses – two factors that warrant a riveting listen – “Catharsis” is equally indebted to indie mindedness and ’60s melodicism, pieces such as “Alvy Singer” and “The Doctor’s Son” scrutinizing curious characters under a microscope. Yet if some of these may seem alien, it’s impossible not to relate to the marching routine of opener “9 to 5” or the awe of the “Whoa” waltz.
Perhaps, the trio’s sound requires some polishing, what with the vocals slightly detached from instrumental bedrock and drums muddled in the mix for the most part, but it doesn’t matter on the psyched-up country cut “World Panic” or “The Curse” where heaviness and harmonies conspire to a prog rave. The result can be puzzling, “Decoding A Clockwork Orange” making a point of it with a wise wordplay and the “door hinge” rhyme to ram an unhinged experience home – that’s the spot for the “Boob Tube” rifferama – but the leader’s guitar filigree on the likes of “The Cave” and “The Snooze” is a rather sobering outburst of musicianship.
If this is a point of purification, it’s really good for one’s soul; given the record is also a starting point for the ensemble, it’s impressive.