16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
After a long wait... yes, it's interesting enough to be worth it.,
This review is from: AW II (Vinyl)
I became something of a John Frusciante completist over 2004, so needless to say I had a great year collecting his numerous releases and realising that all of them were brilliant to a certain extent. The 'Automatic Writing' CD became a particular favourite of mine, complementing my prog/space/Krautrock collection very nicely. And so, after more than two years of anticipation, the second half of the Ataxia sessions finally sees the light of day. So, was it worth the wait?
Yes, just about. It's easy to see why any of these tracks weren't included on the first disc, because they have less of a stylistic connection to each other than the five cuts released back in 2004. The similarities pretty much stop after Joe's relentless basslines and John's choppy, squealing and soaring guitar work. The band aren't afraid to throw themselves at different types of rhythm and see what happens, and at least two tracks on 'AWII' sound distinctly post-punk, even a bit new wave pop, compared with the slow-release, grinding tempos on 'old' songs like 'Addition' or 'Montreal'. 'The Soldier' is a highlight - it pounds along at a fair pace for ten minutes, gradually ascending through careful variations along with John's vocals, which start clean and eventually become screamed and manipulated by the trio's remarkable collection of analogue sound effects.
Elsewhere, 'Attention' is the closest to the first album in terms of tempo, and the closing track 'The Empty's Response' is a beautiful chord progression, loosely arranged and with Josh's unique voice floating along with it. It's a little undercooked, but the nature of the Ataxia project explains that. Still though, an extra day or two on that one could have made it an absolute gem.
But such qualms don't detract much. 'AWII' is short, but it's a more varied collection than its predecessor and is certainly worthy of many listens. Its grooves are as good as before, and its (perhaps superimposed) arrangements keep the listener guessing. I suppose it's SHARPER than the spaced-out, loose, wailing jams of its predecessor. If I didn't know that all ten songs had been recorded in the same week, I would have been saying 'AWII' is a "pleasing development of the ideas on their debut".
Well, here's hoping that John, Josh and Joe happen to find another spare week in their busy schedules...