Giant Squid
The Ichthyologist

Finally given a proper label release (and a nifty new cover) after a self released push from band members (notably the wonderful Jackie Perez Gratz) and friends earlier this year, Giant Squid’s second offering should finally get the attention it deserved before the tragic death of the band’s publicist, Adrian Bromley. And Translation Loss is a perfect fit for this more relaxed though vastly improved, more focused but still challenging record.

The band’s first album, Metridium Fields, seemed to be a perfect fit for The End Records, taking experimental post rock on its head with chants, brass sections and an off kilter sense of ambition that defied categorization, and while The Ichthyologist sticks to the same tenets, it’s a far more laid back and structured album, that’s more in line with Gratz’s other project Grayceon.

While the maritime/nautical concept of the album may be responsible for the album’s more fluid, shimmering, and ebbing rock based sound, the overall backbone of the band is the same with a quirky tone with Gregory’s Serj Tankian like voice, some screams, some gruff roars, some trumpets, some cellos and a non conformist approach to song writing. Still – as off the wall as it all sounds, it’s far more structured and reigned in, and thusly more enjoyable than Metridium Fields. The songs are shorter and more focused with nothing going over 8 minutes as opposed to the 9 and 21 minute largely overdrawn and programming heavy forays of the last album.

On the whole, Gratz’s cello (and at times vocals) on the more languid, relaxing tracks like “La Brea Tar Pits”, “Sutterville”, “Dead Man Slough”, “Mormon Island”, “Sevengill”, mesmerizing ballad “Emerald Bay” and excellent “Blue Linkia” is more prevalent, certainly cementing the more Grayceon like hues of the album. There are only a couple of spurts of off kilter post/lounge rock such as “Panthalassa”, “Throwing a Donner Party at Sea” and hypnotic closer “Rubicon Wall”, that still ensure that the album is tangibly Giant Squid, just more gentle in its experimental throes. However, the lessened presence of Gregory’s vocals may be a benefit as his distinct chant/shout may be a sticking point with some listeners.

Giant Squid have never been and never will be for everyone, but the more laid back, less chaotic and less rangy tone of The Ichthyologist makes them a much easier pill to swallow, and finally with the backing of a good label, reach the appropriate ears.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 1st, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: jk666

    Anneke makes an appearance on one track for you fans. I really hope they get some kind of a deal that allows them to make more music. Very impressive stuff for those of us who think we’ve heard everything.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    The cover looks like Eriks moms cooter


  3. Commented by: jk666

    Love this record…


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