It is a rare treat to hear a veteran collaboration that sounds so fresh – instead of another paint-by-numbers Dad-rock exercise that occurs far too often. Dennis Callaci and Simon Joyner have crafted an album of slow-paced, hazy rock dirges, recorded and mixed with a strong sense of dimension and clarity by Woods’ Jarvis Taviniere – who bypasses his own band’s lo-fi sonic imprint for this particular outing. There is a good amount of space between instruments cut live over a three-day session with Joyner’s band.
Their arrangements never feel crowded – the results often sound like 90′s indie rock with trails of Sonic Youth and Neil Young. You hear it in the flourishes of distant guitar feedback squealing behind acoustic riffs that often build slowly. And in the vocal strain of fragmented ideas spat with urgency, anchored by the occasional sing along chorus on songs like the energetic The Frayed End of the Rope, where they sing, “We’ll make it easy on you/ you tell us the truth and/ we’ll still hear the case.”
The overall result is a refreshingly straight-forward rock album, devoid of studio trickery, and performed at a lesser pace to accommodate the dark and intricate writing. With such an impressive introduction Callaci and Joyner don’t have any excuses not to give us a follow-up.