Though many music reviewers would not like to admit it, the truth is that music criticism is easy, especially when compared to being on the other side of the glass- creating music. Especially at the amateur level, writers are free to envelop themselves in the work at hand, and if they’re adept at their job, provide truly convincing arguments to shed light either positively or
negatively on the album. Obviously, writers can’t simply choose to like or dislike an album, but the way in which they present the music grants reviewers artistic freedom that is unfair, I think, when compared to the painstaking process in which most music is created. We, as writers, are coolly aloof; and it grows into guilt eventually, for me. Guilt over criticizing art people have poured so much energy into. Guilt over the fact that my review, no matter what the artistic quality, will never ever come close to the personalization and skill in your average piece of music. Never has this guilt accrued so significantly as it has upon my lucky stumbling into A Bunny’s Caravan. Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
is humbling. Will I come close to capturing the beauty that’s so latent on the obscure band’s only output? No... but I can try and help spread the word about this masterpiece, and maybe even uncover some hidden details Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
has yet to show me, along the way.
Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of the Norwegian band before, who play a unique blend of post-rock, emo, and indie that’s truly incomparable to any other music I’ve yet heard. This is expected. In fact, how would
you know? They never played a single live show; nor did they even rehearse, not once. Before splitting, though, A Bunny’s Caravan met in a small, Norwegian studio and crafted a massive, poignant album called Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
. After listening to the 6 tracks fairly religiously for a few months, I feel like I’ve found what the crux of Draining Puddles
is, why it has this profound effect on me. It’s an album that balances itself out perfectly, a grand experience so self-contained and complete that it exudes incredibly powerful sentiments- not simply once, but even more so upon multiple listens.
Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasure
is a beautiful foray into a unique system of pulleys and weights, of perfect balance. Sometimes when a band incorporates uninhibited passion into their work, they forget to lie more subtle touches... Easter Eggs to unearth upon repeat listens. ABC are different, they’re truly masters of their domain with their attention to detail and texture. For every moment of sublime, post-rock serenity, there’s an all-out cry to the clouds of passion from their vocalist, whose voice rings clearly as crystal. Whether it’s the vehement yelling that rounds out the 15-minute “Radio P.C.” or the whispery murmurs that inhabit “Cartwheels Into the Abyss,” the singing on Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
is absolutely stunning. Likewise, A Bunny’s Caravan assimilate a few, definite sounds into their unique hybrid. What’s more impressive than the gall it takes to blend emo vocals and aesthetics with post-rock build-ups, voice-sampling, and ambience is A Bunny’s Caravan’s amazing aptitude to do so. Such an expedition could’ve fallen flat, but Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
is indeed a dynamic success, a glorious triumph.
By descriptions alone, you might think this compares to Moving Mountains, another band that adds some post-rock bliss to their recipe. A Bunny’s Caravan are truly outstanding and distinctive from their peers though. On Draining Puddles
, the band does more than simply integrate aspects of dissimilar genres... no, ABC convinces me that they’ve created a niche all to themselves. The genuine innovation and fresh vibrance on Draining Puddles
demand that lumping ABC into a single style of music wouldn’t do the work justice. For accuracies sake, “Progressive Emo” might encompass ABC’s sound, but I couldn’t stand to live with myself if I labeled them as such.
In essence, Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
is an album that perfectly captures just about everything I love about music. From the powerful first few strides on “Inclosed By Skies,” it becomes clear that Draining Puddles
has dynamism, has energy. Perhaps most satisfying, though, is the completeness
of the band’s sole output. Five out of the six tracks top 5 minutes, one going above 9, and the closer clocking in at more than 15 minutes. What’s amazing throughout, though, is that boredom is simply not an option. ABC employs techniques already-perfected by bands like Do Make Say Think
or Set Fire To Flames
. The sophisticated layering and vast sonic landscape of “Inclosed by Skies” is awe-inspiring. It’s not until the closer, though, that things get truly interesting. “Radio: P.C.” begins with a sample of a level-headed man speaking softly and clearly about the evils of corporations’ influence on global politics. Ever so slightly, the ambience around him rises until little by little a blaring guitar overtakes his voice and erupts in broken yells. The crescendo swells, and the man’s familiar voice returns. Call me guily of catering to my audience if you will, but the technique isn’t all that far away from Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s post-rock perfection; and still, Draining Puddles
is anyhing but derivative. It’s simply beautiful, the band’s ability to create and erase, to blend and to dissipate so fluidly, remaining fresh and innovative throughout. To imagine that Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
was recorded in a studio without any previous rehearsals is incomprehensible; but don’t take my word for it, hear the stunning album for yourself.
As I think back to my introduction, it’s evident that critiquing an album is by no means a one-man job. It’s a relationship. For my glowing review of Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
to truly succeed, the reader must also participate. While I’ll never write a review that reaches the artistic integrity of the music at hand, I can
be completely satisfied with my work if albums as mind-numbingly extraordinary as Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures
reach my audience.