Cabinets of Curiosity — The Chaos Game
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-09-26
Listening to Cabinets of Curiosity, it is necessary to leave expectations and preconceptions behind, as they’ll only hinder the experience of listening to this remarkably diverse album. And now I’m going to throw out a list of bands with a similar boundless spirit as a kind of “recommended if you like”: Bent Knee, Charming Hostess, Clearly Beloved, Curious Grace and the Black Rabbit, Schooltree. Cabinets of Curiosity doesn’t sound much like any of these, but shares a similar scorn for typical boundaries, as well as the presence of powerful female vocals. Speaking of powerful vocals, The Chaos Game starts with “Death, She Walks On,” which is a mesmerizing arrangement of multiple vocal parts, apparently all performed by Natalie Hornyak, possibly using a looper. Then they dive into “Angular Sterility,” which features a really powerful distorted bass, some crazy sax lines, and disjointed acoustic guitar parts. Hornyak’s voice comes in, executing really challenging melodies with ease, bouncing through wide intervals with dramatic vibrato and bringing to mind such RIO bands as Thinking Plague or MoeTar. With “Fractals and Coastlines,” the longest track at over 12 minutes, we get a suite of multiple sections and the prominent use of pipe organ sounds, along with lovely flute, screaming guitar, more heavy bass, and muscular horn parts. The following tracks bring in still more differing sounds, with some melodic tracks, atmospheric passages, and more. Composition credits are spread around, with Hornyak on four, two for guitarist James Naprawa, one each for Jared Hirst (bass) and Anthony Warga (saxophones), plus three tagged for the group as a whole — that includes Brian Blackmire (guitar), Justin Jones (keyboards), and Kristina Bacich (flute). (There is no credited drummer, and I’m not sure what that means.) In spite of the distribution of composition, the entire album presents a story written by Hornyak — I won’t go into the details, but I can report that this is not a case where a concept album is diminished by a pretentious or silly story. Most of the tracks function perfectly well on their own, though listening to the whole hour at once is worthwhile. The Chaos Game is a powerful statement for the band’s debut, and who knows where they can go from here?
Related artist(s): Cabinets of Curiosity
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more