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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Swarm Of Spheres - "Invest In Your Death"

The dude who just moved in next door is a cop. The previous owner never bothered to notice the smoke cloud on my back porch and he certainly never needed me to "turn it down." That asshole couldn't hear a damn thing anyway. But now what? I'm regularly poking an eye into his driveway to see if he's gonna get squirrelly and investigate why Sunday mornings are so fuckin' loud over at 902.

I'm not gonna go all "'Sup, Brah?" on the guy, but a friendly introduction might save me some headaches. But the moment he hears Ottawa's Swarm Of Spheres, he's gonna have exactly two options: spark up or bolt. Following up their self-titled 2012 EP with seven dusty shards on Invest In Your Death, the band has steadied their hand and delivered a stoner-sludge clinic glazed with sharp solos and cracked sneers.

We knew that the band had a sense of humor, but it doesn't result from not taking the job seriously. Shoot First, Ask Christian Slater throws a solid drum lead and blasts through uptempo stoner rips. There's a gyrating, controlled chaos to this more-than-introductory opener. If you haven't been immediately shaken awake, check your pulse and rub your eyes. Something's wrong with you.

Leading directly into Get Some Or Run Some, the album finds a repetitive tick-tocking sway until lifted rhythms churn and leave a burning trail through dead grass. The dynamic comes full circle as guitar licks barb the chewy center. Regardless of tempo, every note is hard-hitting and earnestly crafted. Warbled solos normally don't appear within the confines of Sunday Sludge, but Jay Chapman's escapism melts away any accusations of indulgence. His disenchantment on Crust Punk With A Weekly Allowance augments the clouded dust and caked mud. Jesus, these guys are good.

The album offers thematic, recurring elements. The title track may serve as a prelude, buzzing instrumentation spreading like hot riff butter and fleeing at a slow sludge lumber. It's pensive, pacing alongside echoes of smoke and rattled realities. What follows is Rest In Pieces, Sir, a juxtaposed offering of abrupt, tense angst. Spitting through sweaty hair dangling hair dangling in your face, SoS slug without relent. Mark McGee's skinlab doesn't know the meaning of cruise control, while the shift of rhythms is seamless. Fever breaks, the song staggers to its now rusted knees, and listeners are immersed.

When the band asks you to "Invest In Your Death," they later demonstrate sincerity on Seriously, Invest In Your Death. It's a return to the warm, fuzzy reprieve, an almost intermissionary position prepping for the closer, Fuck You And The Fixed Gear You Rode In On. No breaths are wasted here, mate. Imagine an unexpected slap with a cold, dead fish before the balance of stoner and sludge staples allows your nerves to calm. Repetition rides the landscape, led by the roll of Andrew Rashotte's basslines. Every gear is visited here, but look behind you and see that every bush is burned and every beard is manged.

Regardless of your background or interest, Swarm Of Spheres here thrust themselves into any conversation on the subject of "heavy." Invest In Your Death is not only a bound forward from the band's previous offering, but it's also a brilliant set that'll make an instant fan of anyone. The craft is focused and the delivery is absolutely flooring. The only one who may not share in the passion is that cop next door. But I guess we'll find out soon enough. And no, I won't turn it down.

For fans of: Paw, Floor, Big Business
Pair with: Copperhead Red, Ghost River Brewing

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