dredg
Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy


1.5
very poor

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
May 4th, 2011 | 594 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Serving as the poster-child for streaming an album prior to purchase.

People have never been able to agree whether people agreed about dredg. Leitmotif came first, but it was 2002's El Cielo which formed the canyon, harbouring an ominous atmosphere which had the cults clamouring for their classic status labels even before anybody had realised how oddly elusive the songwriting was. Then Catch Without Arms screwed up the dynamic with simplified structures and sparkling choruses and it was all of a sudden impossible to say with any conviction whether El Cielo had been a point of departure or an anomaly or any part of a recognisable trend at all. Pariah was a creeper of a record which did absolutely nothing to answer the riddle and so people continued to ask: who actually are dredg?

Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy was supposed to be the chapter that finally revealed whether dredg were in the midst of penning a thriller or a comedy, where the key elements of their identity were unveiled. Which is not to say it was destined to be a carbon-copy of either Catch Without Arms or El Cielo; the band have proven with ample tenacity that they're not exactly prone to sitting still. They prove that again here. But the trouble is that Chuckles doesn't evoke a response similar to anything else in the band's back catalogue in terms of amplitude. No, the overwhelming response to the musical aesthetic of Chuckles is as underwhelming as they come:

Eh?

It's actually bewildering. Chuckles is about minimalism, which the band have always been good at; it's about weird pop hooks, which have always appeared in one form or another; it's about uncomfortable lyricism, another endearing component part of everything from Leitmotif through to Pariah. But it's fundamentally about re-defining these terms: minimalist as empty; weird as out-of-place; uncomfortable as awkward. All of this might seem like a glorious artistic statement were the things that tied them together not so goddamn tepid. But drummer Dino Campanella has been by-and-large replaced by a machine. Guitar crescendos have been eschewed in favour of taps and clicks. And none of theses songs bubble with any sort of intensity at all; listening to Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy is at most junctures an exercise in remaining focussed.

The twenty-second passage of almost dead air at the start of undeniable stand-out (not exactly the award of the millennium) 'The Ornament' is the sort of thing you could easily see being documented as an artistic stroke of genius on an album more vital, more invigorated than this. And don't get me wrong here, it's not about the tempo of these songs; dredg have always done melancholy well, and sadness better. But the lethargy within these tracks is not a calculated one, it is a lazy one, certainly in effect, if not in process. The motifs are banal and stagnant; the lyrics are five or six notches beneath unassuming to the point that they mean nothing at all. Even vocalist Gavin Hayes doesn't sound any more like he knows why he's carrying that trademark downbeat hum of his.

The temptation is to pass off Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy as the anomaly, the joker in the pack which doesn't fit alongside the rest of the band's work, but by now, surely the time has come to admit that, whichever dredg album you hold aloft as their crowning achievement, and whatever trajectory you think they have followed during their time as a band, there's just a chance it's never been building to anything at all. Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy is a phenomenally uninteresting affair from start to finish, not just musically, but also as a point of discussion in the context of dredg's canon. Neither thriller nor comedy, Chuckles is entirely akin to those straight-to-DVD 'drama' movies with little to no drama whatsoever.

But hey. Maybe, at least, dredg fans can finally agree on something: Chuckles & Mr Squeezy sucks. It really does.



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user ratings (446)
Chart.
1.8
poor
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
May 4th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Ouch. My 1.5s are usually at least funny.

sonictheplumber2
May 4th 2011


256 Comments


if you don't like it it's probably good

Slum
May 4th 2011


2579 Comments


Probably one of the best negative reviews I've read in a while, pos'd

sonictheplumber2
May 4th 2011


256 Comments


good review though

TheSpirit
May 4th 2011


17927 Comments


Listened to the first song and I actually kinda liked it but beyond that it is a horrible album. Great review as usual Knott

Knott-
Emeritus
May 4th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Hahaha. Thanks guys.

Sonic, I think the bar chart is evidence enough that I'm not alone in this opinion.

MO
May 4th 2011


18859 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

great review

sonictheplumber2
May 4th 2011


256 Comments


yeah knott I'm just messin you know I never even listened to this group

Knott-
Emeritus
May 4th 2011


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Not about to recommend them to you either haha.

DoubtGin
May 4th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, seems to be pretty awful, but will probably give a listen still

WatchItExplode
May 4th 2011


3272 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lazy and uninteresting is just about right. Listening to this brought all sorts of good dredg song flooding into my brain though

Digging: Giant Squid - Minoans

saucy
May 4th 2011


342 Comments


gorgeous review. pos.

BenedictVII
May 4th 2011


369 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Very good review.
"Chuckles is about minimalism.... minimalist as empty"
^ this. There is nothing in this album.


cfbassist
May 4th 2011


331 Comments


good review, though i don't agree with your rating...

i actually think i might like this album, not as much as the other dredg albums, but for some reason i can't hate it as much as most do...haven't put my finger on why though

ConsiderPhlebas
May 4th 2011


6157 Comments


Awesome review

Tyrael
May 4th 2011


20899 Comments


if you don't like it it's probably good

No that's Channing. Great review Knott!

Deathcar
May 4th 2011


1534 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I wouldn't say this is that bad, but still pretty poor. Review is right on point though. *goes to listen to Leitmotif*.

elephantREVOLUTION
May 4th 2011


2761 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

holy shit, that was an amazing review

AggravatedYeti
May 4th 2011


7685 Comments


really like this review Knott.

psykonaut
May 4th 2011


3913 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah you did a really good job of putting into words what a lot of us were thinking but couldn't
really articulate beyond "this album blows". 5-star review, chap



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