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Roomsound (Deluxe Reissue 2xLP)
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Califone's debut album Roomsound - Originally self released in April of 2001. Roomsound covers the same rustic, slightly ramshackle back forty that Tim Rutili has been ploughing through since his previous band Red Red Meat. Only this time the tilled bedrock unveils the most vividly colored, luring crop of songs Rutili has ever harvested. The sleepy, country-blues picking and autumnal backwoods melodies are accented with striking splashes of electronic tone color, obsolete keyboards and off-kilter percussion. Lyrically, Roomsound penetrates the breath of pirates, poison apples at a tango contest and the waiting room between death and canonization where missionaries have quit and 19th-century prostitutes have been rescued for all the wrong reasons. Masterfully produced by Brian Deck, the album is vaulted far beyond the sum of its parts. Roomsound is a hauntingly unique and distinctive record of crafted and sculpted beauty.
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Top Customer Reviews
This record is haunting and addictive. Haunting because certain guitar parts or vocals are constantly echoing through my head ("bellyfull of swans" and the violin part of "FISHERMAN'S WIFE"). Addictive because I cannot stop listening to it.
Califone pulls off a major feat. They evoke the emotion and grit of the Blues without simply aping the Blues.
Standout tracks are "BOTTLES AND BONES (shade & sympathy)," "FISHERMAN'S WIFE," "WADE IN THE WATER," and "SLOW RT. HAND." In order to get the full effect of these songs, however, they need to be heard in context. The album definitely has a distinct sound and needs to be played in its entirety to be completely enjoyed. It is best listened to with headphones. Subtle but complex percussion is used throughout the album to great effect. At points, the guitar playing reminds me a little of John Parish's work with PJ Harvey.
This is an enhanced CD with avi's of the band playing in a bathroom.
I would definitely recommend this to any fan of adventurous music that attempts to deconstruct traditional song structures. The album's forward-looking sound is all the more remarkable because the instrumentation is fairly simple (guitar, bass, drums, organ, percussion and some synthesizers). I am looking forward to delving into the Califone and Red Red Meat back catalog. I am so happy that I found this band.
The music makes you want to see its' creation. I envision walking into a dimly lit tavern where band leader Rutili sits back in a corner, with smoke wafting toward the ceiling. Nothing is on the table but a stiff shot of whiskey and paper to write down a combination of random thoughts and visions.
The entire CD is an experience that envelops one and should not be dissected. If it must, like my early morning trips, my favorite cuts include Trout silk, Bottles and Bones and fisherman's wife. Percussion blends with banjo. Guitar throbs pushed on by a thumping bass. Picture that bar setting and then Rutili emerging as an early Dave Matthewsish type prescence with a well, let's say it, a Tim Rutili gift for writing and assembling a great cadre of musicians. Make sure to slow down and enjoy the whole experience!
It's hard to choose a favorite track from this album, as they are all excellent. I would pick "Bottles and Bones," "Porno Starlet vs. Rodeo Clowns," and "Slow RT. Hand" as the best on the album, but that is subject to change as I listen to it more.
I have listened to it five times now since I bought it last week, and it isn't getting old yet. I don't think it ever will get old, because everytime I listen, I hear something new.
Buy this album! You won't be sorry! And don't forget to check out their newest, Sometimes Good Weather Follows Bad People, which is a compilation of two EPs.