While I certainly wouldn't consider myself a diehard Coheed and Cambria fan, I have yet to come across a song of theirs I haven't liked. I've seen them once in concert, just with some friends as something fun to do, and it was probably the most visually stunning thing I've ever witnessed at the House Of Blues (and that's including Lifehouse and Josh Gracin concerts).
All that being said, when the opportunity came up to review Davenport Cabinet (previously The English Panther), the solo project of Coheed's guitarist Travis Stever, I took it for the above reasons, and the fact that I rarely am available to review something for CB but this was finally a good schedule fit... andddd the fact it meant I was going to score so pretty good free music.
Let's talk about how incredibly worth it this was.
The album starts out with a short instrumental intro, "Night Climb," which serves to build some anticipation for what's to come. It moves on with such... well, interesting tracks. Or rather, an interesting compilation of tracks.
The music range on this album is odd when you break it down, though I didn't notice it until I started breaking down tracks. Everything somehow flows so well together, despite going from one genre of rock to another. Let me explain: we start with Deterioration Road." It's lighter in sound than I would have ever expected, with just an underlying tone of darkness that is entrancing. "Simple Words," which comes right after that, adds in a female vocal on top of a simple guitar strumming.
Then "Sister Servant" comes on and it's like the highway is calling. The beat is unlike anything I've ever heard utilizing guitars. Somehow, the band created a reggae sound without a single steel drum. This was about where I felt settled in for a really nice, relaxing Sunday night listening session. "These Bodies" pulled me completely out of that and into a dark place, where there was just a continuing spiral feeling. While not my favorite song on the album, and slightly out of place compared to the previous tracks, we'll keep moving on.
"Our Machine," the title track, has more to it that a banjo and some good lyrics. This is a band that knows how to speak with far more than words, a rarity these days. It moves from this slight country feel into an '80s rock song with "Black Dirt Burden." Here's the first time that I have gotten the Coheed feel during this album, and while I didn't find myself necessarily missing it, there was a nice bit of nostalgia happening.
And then "Drown It All," despite a very black title, sounds like a '90s/BNL throwback. Again, all at once the album flows just fine, but looking back, I'm still blinking hard trying to figure out how the notes for this one fit so well with the album as a whole. Regardless of fit, this song made me melt in thoughtfulness. I think I was still caught up in this as "Dancing On Remains" came on, because I lost focus for a few minutes.
"At Sea" was the next track, providing a good rock song as I finished out the lyrical portion of the album. Looking back, it was the perfect upswing to a climax in whatever musical story was going on. The final and completely instrumental track was "Father," and what a great downswing that was to end things out. The bookend effect of two instrumental tracks may not be what they were going for, but I found it to be a really great way to give a final balance for the whole thing.
All right, so there are the general impressions left by each song but as you might have read, I had some serious feelings about the album as a whole. It meshed incredibly well for being so out of joint with highs to lows in the general genre of rock music. The album was magical as a whole though. Normally, I'll put albums on and type a few sentences on each song as it plays, while probably playing games or working on editing other things in the meantime. For this, I dropped everything and paid attention big time. Something was incredibly entrancing, and I plan on listening quite a few more times.