The Leaky Faucet: Dredg – The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion

by Gordon Elgart on May 18, 2009

I hope Dredg aren't trying to say that they "mailed it in."

I hope Dredg aren't trying to say that they "mailed it in."

Retail Release Date:  June 9, 2009

Leaky Faucet Acquisition Date:  May 6, 2009

Dredg really never had a shot on the major labels.  They’re a prog rock band, first and foremost.  This is, of course, why I like them.  For their last album, Catch Without Arms, they teamed up with a big name producer (Terry Date) and had songwriting help from Queensyche’s Chris Degarmo.  That’s a high powered team, and the album that came out of it had a lot of polish and shine, but also lacked some of the musical innovation found on the band’s older releases.  In a lot of ways, it made their earlier albums sound like demos.

So now Dredg is off of the major label, yet they’ve maintained the polished sound, but–and this is exciting–they’ve also thrown caution to the wind in a lot of ways.  No longer worried about trying to sound like the band the majors want them to sound like, they go back to the more experimental sounds of their earlier albums, Lietmotif and El Cielo.  And it’s almost a complete success.

It’s not perfect, though.  There are a few missteps on the album, and these are the couple of songs that harken back to the soft rock 80s sound as heard on “Zebraskin” from Catch Without Arms.  It’s not a good choice, and it’s the most disappointing on the song “Morning This Morning.”  But before I have time to complain, they throw in a short pretty song called “Stamp: Take a Look Around” quickly followed by an angular instrumental, “Long Days and Vague Clues,” that also brings in some aggressive cello.  I like aggresive cello.

I’d like to steer you all to what I feel are the standout tracks on this record.  “Gathering Pebbles” starts in such a way that makes you think it might be a pretty song, but then the guitar teases an evil tone that recurs throughout the track, and eventually takes over.

“Information” is the song that sounds most like an outtake from Catch Without Arms, and is ready for the radio.  The singer, Gavin Hayes, has never sounded better.  And if this isn’t the radio track, it will surely be “Savior,” which is shorter and more forceful.

The most fun song on the album is “I Don’t Know,” which I’m looking forward to singing in my car this summer.  And I’m going to give the Track of the Album award to “Quotes,” which is a mini-epic that recalls the very best of early 70s prog rock while still sounding modern enough to be exciting.

Admittedly, I was wary of what Dredg might sound like after such a long break between albums, but I needn’t have worried.  All the lovers of their hard-edged modern prog rock will be very pleased.  And if you’re a prog fan, but haven’t made time to check them out, now’s the time.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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