Listen Up: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Appleseed Cast

Peregrine (Militia Group Records)

By Jimmy Fowler

With its penchant for ethereal instrumentals, synthetic vocal effects, and album-length plotlines, The Appleseed Cast could have come from the dark side of the moon. In fact, they’ve proudly maintained their home base in Lawrence, Kan., since their debut almost a decade ago.

Peregrine, their new c.d. and first after a two-year hiatus that followed the folding of their previous label, would play well with a shimmering light show. Intriguingly, lead singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer Chris Chrisci has evoked an atmosphere suitable for a performance by the aurora borealis in Big Sky Country. “Bucolic psychedelic” might be a good label for these 13 guitar-based tunes — they occasionally thrash and pound but mostly hover along at a ’shroomy, elegiac pace.

The lyrics of Peregrine add up to the tale of a rural family haunted by the ghost of a vengeful daughter, or something like that, but mostly the disc offers a collection of isolated moments. Some are poignant (the gentle instrumental “An Orange and a Blue” and “Silas’ Knife,” which breaks mid-point into an electric storm of static-filled strings). Some are grimly compelling (“Song 3” and the title tune, with its wraith-like background vocals).

Unfortunately, bandleader Chrisci has an excessive fondness for arpeggios, those rapidly blipping successive notes that go up and down the scale, which lends Peregrine a certain congested quality: There’s a whole lotta electro-noodling going on to stretch some of these tunes past the five-minute mark. The Appleseed Cast has an obviously devoted online following, but on balance the new c.d. is too lethargic and sonically monotonous to blow any minds previously left intact by the group’s contemplative style.

Fri at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 411 E Sycamore St, Denton. 940-387-7781.


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