3 out of 5
Produced by: Nick Zampiello (mastered by)
Sometimes I feel a little silly criticizing bands that form their sound around something “simple,” like guitar and drums and that’s it, but then again… isn’t that most bands? And aren’t there bands that have done 5ive’s specific simple thing even more simply – like, really really, just a guitar and drums – and been freakin’ awesome at it?
So I feel a little less silly when criticizing the band’s second full-length, The Telestic Disfracture, but what’s still a bit misfitting is how much of the core of what works for 5ive is present throughout the disc, with lots of impressive extras – vocals; noise – that should only add to that. The album “feels” and sounds right. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to achieve anything beyond a certain threshold, and that threshold is almost fully explored in opening track Stockholm (Blues), which features some Godflesh-esque vocals from J. Jonah Jenkins atop of Ben Carr’s riffing / Charles Harrod’s drumming, the latter two musicians doing the 5ive thing of rolling, jazz-flecked ping-ponging off of each other, building into pummeling moments. What ‘Telestic’ adds to this over other releases from the band is a massive sense of space and ambience – tracks itch and crawl toward their explosions, with static and other manipulations persistent throughout; an equation examined at length in the 3-part ‘Synapse’ which closes the disc… and which is mirrored in the non-3-part first three tracks, which are, again, experienced in microcosm in the opener.
Parceling this out differently would make this more effective: Synapse as a standalone EP; Stockholm as an A-side to a Nitinol / Shark Dreams B-side. That said, bear in mind the majority of these tracks are 10+ minutes, so I don’t mean to mislead and suggest this comes across as repetitive; the ebb and flow built into the track length makes this a very worthwhile journey, just one that doesn’t seem to hit any surprising new highs after a very strong, comparatively condensed intro.