The American Catastrophe - Excerpts from the broken bones choir

You may not want to read any further without letting a little daylight into the room.

www.myspace.com/amcat

Please answer the following questions truthfully.

1) Are you a Nick Cave fan?

2) Does your wardrobe consist of mainly black and purple items of clothing?

3) Are you a night owl?

If you answered yes to at least one of the questions above, then stick around, otherwise please leave this review immediately and go and open the curtains. You may not want to read any further without letting a little daylight into the room.

 

Excerpts from the Broken Bones Choir is about as colourful as a black cat in a coal house. It's dark, it's grisly and its the type of music that high brow music magazines would say 'broods ominously'. Basically, this is as dark as the night and if you're not strong enough it could give you nightmares. If that sounds like I'm being detrimental, then you're mistaken.

 

There's a lot to like here, especially the packaging, which illustrates the Southern Gothic atmosphere of the record a lot better than my long winded intro has. First of all, the front cover simply has an image of a crow perched on an axe handle, which should get all you horror fans excited immediately. Secondly, there's a wax seal on the back. You know, like you see in old horror films. It's simple, the writing is silver on a black background and the back also contains a small drawing of an axe being held above a chicken's head. Inside, there's more black, more silver writing and a real black bird's feather. Hmm, you getting the picture yet?

Musically, this is your typical dark gothic stuff. The guitars drone and reverberate through seemingly endless intros, building up into doom laden songs that last for an eternity. There's only six tracks on this debut, but the disc lasts well over half an hour. You'll be pleased to learn that it's actually very good stuff though. Dark, yes and haunting too, but there's a lot of craft gone into this. The arrangements are clever and even The Farm, which pushes the seven and a half minute mark doesn't feel too pretentious. The vocals are distinctly monotone, with more than a nod in Nick Cave's direction, perhaps with a bit of Mark Lanegan's gravel thrown in for good measure.

 

Like some kind of bastard offspring of Nick Cave and Kyuss, the American Catastrophe have created the type of world Stephen King fans will get aroused at and if you like your musical worlds to be dark, haunting and powerful, then this could be right up your dark alley. Close the curtains and enjoy.

 

Words : Damian Leslie