Album Reviews

The Great Depression – Preaching To The Fire

(Fire) UK release date: 20 March 2006

Preaching To The Fire is one of those records that can cause a few problems when it comes to reviews. Not that there isn’t plenty to say about it, of course, but the trouble comes when trying to stay awake when actually listening to it. Todd Casper and Tom Cranley have come up with an album that is the sonic equivalent of Temazepam.

Having been lulled a slumber on the first few listens, several cups of coffee, a few Pro Plus and a crate of Red Bull were called for. In a permanent state of caffeine-induced twitchiness Preaching To The Fire shows itself to be a wonderfully deep and heavily layer piece of work.

“$50 later and I become the messenger, I can see the effect it has on the listener,” states opening track The Telekinetic, and there’s little doubt that these tunes do have a massive effect on you. Once your newly found narcolepsy is controlled, it’s hard to dismiss these songs. The vocal lines are distant: drifting in and out in an apathetic haze while the guitar lines float around you like aromatic smoke. They’re impossible to grasp, but easy to adore.

If the more trippy moments of Pink Floyd spoke to you, or the chilled out fear that Radiohead revelled in during their quieter moments really appealed to you, then you will find yourself on familiar ground here. It’s is not that far from a kind of modern psychedelia.

In the place of warm feelings and maddening colour, there’s pretension in the song titles and abstraction in the lyrics that may or may not hide a political agenda (“Vivid action without all the debris; from the comfort of our homes crusading overseas” from Quiet Out There, or; “All the monkeys forming factions (control issues, fear-based actions) breed immobile drones” on Somewhere Over The Counter Culture).

But really it’s the striking apathetic nature of these songs that sets The Great Depression from the psychedelia of the past. Sure, those old songs might have been wig outs performed by people out of their heads, but they were part of a culture that thought it could change the way the world works by coming together, and working as one mind. It was either that or by taking mind expanding drugs and shagging everything that moved.

These songs seem to accept the world as it is, and show it in a strange dreamy light, with little but abstract cynicism as a method of political stance. If there could be one complaint about these songs, it’s that they don’t ignite at anytime. There’s not a punchy moment to be found anywhere; instead, they float by, sometimes barely registering themselves on your radar before they tumble into the next tune. A few raucous moments would have been nice, but perhaps, in fairness they would have upset the tone of the record as a whole.

Preaching To The Fire is a record in which you can get utterly lost, given time. The only thing it lacks is a warning: Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery Whilst Listening To This Record.

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