How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
With extensive touring schedules and this 2008 release, Capillary Action is working mighty hard to spread the good news. Assertive and thoroughly in-your-face, leader Jonathan Pfeffer (guitar, vocals) is a stickler for detail. In a loose sense, this album fuses a mini historical glimpse of progressive rock along with guest horn and string performers, while the core quartet often approaches with breakneck speed as it shifts metrics on a nanosecond's notice.
Besides all the impressive technicalities, the band jubilantly morphs disparate genres into the grand schema. It's asymmetrical parts, skronk, jazz, classical, avant-pop and other genres all interweave into a rather comprehensive team-centric stance. Chock full of blitzing and odd-metered time signatures, amid '70s style prog-rock organ overlays and a bit of Spanish bravura on "Paperweights," the ensemble plays with the mind's eye throughout. However, the musicians combine elements of dissonance with triumphantly orchestrated melodies on various pieces, often counterbalancing with layered string and horn arrangements.
Pfeffer's vocals often steer the band's course via a wealth of ideas that at times elicit notions of a rock-opera compressed into a time capsule intended for aliens. But it's remarkably cohesive and not superfluous. Otherwise, it's a gem of an album from a band that abides by a musical manifesto that is miles above and beyond the norm.
Track Listing: Gambit; Pocket Protection is Essential; Elevator Fuck; Placebo or Panacea; Bloody Nose; Badlands; Paperweights; Father of Mine; The Chaperone; Sexy Koala; Self-Released.
Personnel: Jonathan Pfeffer: vocals, guitars; Spencer Russell: acoustic & electric bass, vocals; Ricardo Lagomasino: drums, percussion; Kevin McHugh: keyboards, vocals; Zachary Crystal: percussion; Johnny Butler: saxophones; Matthew Nelson: tenor saxophone; Ryan Snow: trombone; Andy Hunter: trombone; Jeffrey Young: violin; Jessica Pavone: viola; Caleigh Drane: cello.