Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Beauty Of Innocence Remains.
©2009 Grrr Records
HYPERLINK "http://www.photosidecafe.com" www.photosidecafe.com
The Cannyshark came back from Cornerstone 2009 with glowing reviews of Photoside Café and their live set. Okay, I was all ears (and apparently eyes in this case). We sat down and he showed the video he’d shot. Pretty compelling stuff: a super tight band, great rhythm section, and a violinist who took the traditional place of a 2nd guitarist. Very good players, all very competent, and the devotion to their craft was evident. So, the Cannyshark asks if I’d like to review their CD for my blog, sure…
Studio recordings are very different beasts than the live arena. Some bands just never reach the level set by their live set when turned loose in the strange wonderland of the studio. Photoside Café does a decent job. Live, their dynamic sound creates power and an epic, dramatic sound. On the studio recording it sometimes translates, other times, it starts to sound like drama for drama’s sake. The studio recording is pretty plan vanilla, it begs for some space to play out the interplay of the instrumentation and the vocals. It gets this on “Sweet Fascination”, a great down tempo piece with keys and powerful use of the violin. Other tracks are solid, most are of mid to up tempo with interesting and off the beaten path melodies and more complex than usual instrumentation. None of it feels forced, occasionally a little overwrought, but this is nitpicking by me.
Hard to pigeonhole this band, and that’s a good thing. Occasionally jazzy, other times veering towards prog or fusion, but never lapsing into chops over song territory.
Bravo to Photoside Café for taking their own path.
I like this CD, I hope they continue to evolve musically, and I’d definitely try to see them live if they happen upon our little corner of the country.