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THE CATHODE RAY SYNDROME* – Use Forgotten Tools (self-released)

Posted: February 3rd, 2005, by Stuart Fowkes

Weighty stuff here from the Cathode Ray Syndrome, who have even called their website War Against Cliché. They’re one of those bands with important-sounding song titles like The Art of Poetry is Dying’, and whose band manifesto offers a partial solution to the problem that ‘passion has been mislaid under manufactured society’. Big Themes, then, and themes dealt with by what are essentially instrumental post-rock tunes varying from the striking to the strikingly unoriginal. First track Princess-X might have sounded extraordinary five or six years ago, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the Tupperware party going on round at Sweep and Godspeed!’s house. It strikes magnificent, self-important poses, but chops and changes between well-trodden paths without ever sound like it wants to forge its own path.

Laudable influences notwithstanding, there’s nothing in the first three tracks to make me holler “REVOLUTION!” from the rooftops, as they shoot admiring sidelong glances at Constellation and June of 44, but – hurrah! – when the CRS* veer off and follow their hearts, they’re terrific. Kneejerk Practice pulls together fuzzy keyboard basslines and distorted beats with a closely-woven pattern of arpeggios, like These Arms Are Snakes taking their hand to Mogwai’s Christmas Steps. Solutions for Solved Problems takes a while to get going, picking its way around some pretty harmonics, but the home run locks into a great, pulsing groove, while New Theory/Robots works itself into a handclap-led quasi-disco break. Moments of brilliance, then, and that’s no bad thing.

The Cathode Ray Syndrome*

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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