Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Custodian

Hello my faithful progheads!  As promised, I am back in the library as open  minded and excited as a foreign exchange student in a strip club...lots of promise, plenty of opportunity, and a smile on my face that will not fade...

After indulging my inner King Crimson connection these past two weeks, I am back on track with the original intent of this blog--finding new, different, and exciting progressive music to enjoy and review.  "Prog Rock" is so much more than a style or genre...to me it is a way of life.  To truly enjoy and appreciate progressive music is to open one's mind, heart, and soul to the beauty that lies under the surface.  The ability to explore different interpretations and points-of-view is what separates the fulfilled from the disappointed...

Before I find myself in a dark room with a knee-deep stack of old albums scattered about, I better start walking down the library aisle.  Giving in to my poor sense of direction, I find myself standing in front of a bin labeled "The Custodian."  No prior knowledge of what to expect means no pre-conceived notions, ideas, or prejudices...this should be fun!

My first indulgence this week is "Necessary Wasted Time."  This is the title cut from the band's debut album. The song opens simple enough; easy guitar with a steady beat...and then the vocals ooze in like a thick fog rolling over the interstate.  The result is a unique sound that beats both hard and soft as if there is indecision as to where the song is headed.  I find this intriguing--the way a new album should be.  The guitar continues to cut through the song and sting you just a bit.  The vocals have that "other end of the phone receiver" quality.  As I type this it may seem as if I am less than pleased--but I assure you "Necessary Wasted Time" is good.  Remember how awkward it was to describe your favorite drink to your parents?  That is the challenge I feel here...The Custodian is a really good band but the right words are difficult to find.

My second selection is "The Man Out Of Time."  A very mood driven, almost hypnotic tune; the opening guitar and keyboards blend together into a somber, melodic goblet of gin...very nice.  There is a hint of Alan Parsons Project wafting throughout...the vocal harmonies are extremely smooth and that "phone voice" is back once again, this time like a narrative.  The Custodian is a band that dares to be different and dares you to define them.  The drums here are enough to hold the song together yet not so much that the mood is lost. The Custodian has a way of getting under just one layer of your skin so as to draw interest but not blood...

Liner Notes...The Custodian is led by Richard Thomson on drums, synthesizer, and vocals, Owain Williams on lead guitar, Nariman Poushin on electric and acoustic guitars, and Michael Pitman on bass and vocals.  I have always been impressed by a band with a singing drummer.  Fellow progheads may remember Thomson from the prog metal death band Xerath, where he also sang vocals.  The Custodian is a bit tamer than Xerath which is neither good nor bad--just different.  Having listened to both The Custodian and Xerath I can say it is unfair to compare the two...but I will say The Custodian is more forward thinking in both music and lyrics.

My third selection this week is a song titled, "Other People's Lives."  The acoustic opening is quite nice and very calming--but it is just getting you loosened up for the kick.  However; don't expect a size twelve boot to the throat--it is more like a size six Converse to the chest...you feel it but you're not left gasping for air.  I am beginning to pick up hints of Porcupine Tree as I travel through this song.  The tempo picks up a bit and I like the way the mood shifts from calm and serene to a little anxious and jumpy...in much the same way life comes at you from all sides.

The Custodian is a very interesting band.  It is difficult to place a label on their music, which is a tribute to the style and ability of the individual artists.  The Custodian does prog proud because they are able to change moods and attitudes almost as often and easily as my daughter changes her shoes.  Thompson has made a big paradigm shift from Xerath and I believe it shows growth, maturity, and a willingness to put himself out there.  The Custodian is a band that starts out smooth and takes a few side roads while travelling the path...yet still manages to arrive on time and intact.

The selection I chose this week for your listening pleasure is "Stop Talking."  Do what the title says and listen; pay attention to how well the acoustic blends into the electric, and how the top note of vocals is just enough to tie it all together. You can find out more about The Custodian at  https://www.facebook.com/WeAreTheCustodians.

Well fellow progheads, another week has flown by.  I will head back into the library to search out yet another new and different sound to bring to the prog buffet.  Just thinking about adding another band to my growing list of impressive and inventive prog is whetting my appetite--and I hope you are as intrigued as I am.  If you have a request I am all ears...feel free to let me know about other prog bands and artists; I am always ready to broaden my prog horizons.  Until next week...

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