Review Summary: One success of many to come.
When looking up information on The Custodian, I found this particularly illustrious biography:
“No long-winded, awfully self-indulgent biography available. We are simply here.”
This is why The Custodian stands out from the rest of the progressive rock crowd, because they aren’t trying to. For starters, look at the band name-- it’s inconspicuous, and there’s something admirable about that. The group could’ve gone with something more flashy, but they simply didn't desire to do so.
And considering the style of the group’s first album, its name fits the bill rather well. Necessary Wasted Time
is a melodic breeze, tasteful and sensible, and this was The Custodian’s goal for the record. They draw influence from the progressive rock of the seventies, by forming the music's basis through tight songwriting, and filling in the gaps with instrumental interplay.
There’s one thing in particular that’s written all over Necessary Wasted Time
-- how much these guys care about the music they write. The Custodian just wants to find an addictive melody, and work with it in as many ways as possible. The group understands structuring, and how to successfully introduce new elements while maintaining particular motifs. Through the cycles, though, the music maintains a consistency that makes every song something special. At each turn it knows exactly what it wants to express, and that message happens to be more simple and heartfelt than most of the group’s contemporaries. There isn’t an obvious influence on The Custodian from today’s progressive, but if I had to guess somebody I’d say Steven Wilson, and his rather straightforward take on progressive. Still, though, Wilson hasn’t ever given me the impression that he’s crafted his work to a dependable level. Necessary Wasted Time
doesn’t miss a beat, and it’s all the more impressive because of it.
There are obvious places where The Custodian can improve. Richard Thomson, (despite his vastly different work with progressive metal group Xerath,) sometimes sings too similarly to Mikael Akerfeldt, and his lyrics are sometimes a bit vexing (like in the title track and its vague technology theme.) But for a such a promising debut from these guys, such petty types of grievances seem to miss the point. Regarding Thomson, the familiar vocals he offers work very well for the music at hand-- considering that, after all, the group isn’t going out of its way to sound unique. Necessary Wasted Time
is refreshing because, well, it just is
-- there’s nothing more to it. And The Custodian wouldn’t bother convincing you of anything else.