Record Review – Cryptacize

Cryptacize, Dig That Treasure, Asthmatic Kitty Records

By Chris Brunelle

Cryptacize projects the sound of a band in total isolation. It’s as if they’ve just formed, churned out a batch of songs in a weekend and never left their living room to try them out in front of people. This untainted-by-the-world quality is both charming and frustrating. The songs are arranged sparsely, frequently without percussion.

A guitar will ring out a chord at each change and let it resonate — strumming guitars and continuous rhythms are absent from the structure. Each instrument on the record displays a very minimal and superficial understanding of the song’s chords or harmonic structures. There are no mistakes per se, but the playing is tentative and extremely restrained.

This restraint seems to be for the purpose of conveying dreaminess and delicacy, but the execution is so abrupt and apparent that it interrupts any possibility of those intentions becoming a sensation for the listener. Although it seems amateurish, the sparseness does leave lots of room for the vocals. Nedelle Torrisi and Chris Cohen fill these spaces with tuneful tales reminiscent of musical theatre. Their voices are tender and show technical strength, but sometimes fall flat.

There are hints of The Jesus And Mary Chain here, but the duo’s vocals sound like a less tongue-in-cheek Ed’s Redeeming Qualities. Every aspect of this music is very personal and presented with little reverence to any musical tradition or convention, which gives Dig That Treasure its charm and personality while also making it seem like it wasn’t intended for anyone to hear. Which ultimately begs the question: Do I need to hear this? Ultimately, it plays very self-indulgent in the attempt to be heartfelt and beautiful.

Originally published in Impose Magazine, this article can also be viewed here.

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