Every once in a while, there is a review that completely praises the heads off of certain artists in such a fantastical way, that most cannot believe what their eyes are glazing over. Every once in a while, a reviewer is so blasted out of the water by something so minuscule that he is inspired to take up as much space on his word processor as he possibly can by blabbing on and on and making sufficiently long run-on sentences that most high school English teachers would scoff at. Every once in a while, a review uses repetition to get its point across.
For those who’ve been paying attention, this is one of those reviews.
1888’s single Abble Goose Dam is one of those pieces of music that is just that good. If any theme or motif is constructed within this humble two-song collection (plus two more from their Panda EP), it is one of greatness. Granted, it is a modest amount of tracks, but even so, there have been very few CDs, that when released, give such a solid and diverse collection of music. What makes this even better is that this is only a taste of what’s to come on their full-length disc coming out later this year.
1888 is something of an ideal band, in that members join in to provide what is needed, but then come in and seem to create their own niche in the ecosystem of the band. It is more of a community than a band, as each part depends upon the other to maintain its overall structure. Brad Rosenberg started this utopian group with Scott Lyman, writing songs in the late ’90s, and from there went on to create his dream, Clay Garden Studios, in which talented musicians could record in and sit in on other sessions, providing accompaniment and a helping hand when needed. This is what eventually evolved into 1888 when Bobby Rangel helped Rosenberg adapt his songs for a live audience. The band members include Daniel Driskell, lap steel guitar master and harmony vocals, Dan Villaneuva, rhythm guitarist, Brian Terrible, with Bass guitar and ironic last name, Bobby Rangel on the drums, and finally Brad Rosenberg on rhythm guitar, keyboard, and harmony vocals.
The single’s first track, “Unconscious on the Telephone” provides intrigue with the subtle guitar rhythm at the beginning, like the white rabbit leading Alice down the hole. Following this rhythm proves worthwhile when the music turns into a controlled explosion of fireworks pleasing audiences with the bright and varied colors of instrumentals. This explosion is one of those rare and short-lived moments in music that can be listened to time and time again, only for something different to be heard each time. This track also uses very good use of the vocal harmonies between Daniel Driskell and Brad Rosenberg. The next track on the single contrasts to the previous track’s higher paced energy, but always has something going on as well, never reaching a dull moment. This also helps to allow each song to stand on its own. The sluggish Pink Floyd-ian sound is deceiving, in almost a cruel way, as the song seems as if it will go for much longer, but ends in a short three minutes. For some, this may be enough, but anyone who has heard it will wish for more. The two tracks off of the Panda EP each have their own distinctive sound, and while it is a nice treat for those of us wanting more 1888, Abble Goose Dam is a great piece of music in its own right.
This is one of those reviews that is entirely too appraising, but cannot be helped when dealing with such meticulously crafted and all around solid music. To 1888, if you haven’t gotten the drift already, good job. Get that full-length release out soon.