Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Music Review: Climber on The Daily Tar Heel

Music Review: Climber
By JOE FAILE | The Daily Tar Heel

Updated: 8:46 AM

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On Climber’s The Mystic, oddity is the record’s raison d’etre. From the bizarre, Dr. Seuss-like album art to a set of songs that bounces from one extreme to another, the band lets its freak flag fly.

If Animal Collective, MGMT and Of Montreal and were to play an impromptu jam session, it might provide an apt indication of the sounds emanating from Climber’s amps.

There are plenty of discrepancies between the rhythms and instruments employed, but overall electro-psychedelic sounds reign supreme.

Meandering from pop to ambient to electronic, The Mystic doesn’t convey a definable sound for Climber. Experimentation on the album concocts a few successes, but largely jumbles the listener’s perception of the band from song to song.

The heavy synthesizer and cutesy keyboards on “I Have Seen Everything” contradict the “Black Betty”-esque guitar riffs in “We Are The New Man.” The bluesy lead-in to “The Simians Speak” that slowly layers pinging electronic beats repudiates the gloomy, space-age instrumentals of “Gladly I Would Leave.”

The unifying force behind the album is Michael Nelson’s vocals. They’re highly affable on each track, regardless of pitch or the milieu instrumentation. Nelson’s voice is one of the constants in Climber’s ever-differentiating formula.

The multiplicity that Climber presents on The Mystic is at times defeating and, at others, quite admirable. There are moments of clarity in the midst of the chaos, but when they’re buried under inconsistent songs, it’s hard to find the urge to dig them up.

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