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Artist The Mercy Cage
Album Scree: Transmissions
Record Label DSBP
Artwork by jason just @ Symbolique Studios
Year 2005
Website http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~mkwood/

Scree:Transmissions is the third release from the New Zealand band "The Mercy Cage", out on DSBP. Labeled as a concept album, I have to admit I found this album rather daunting with 23 tracks. As with many alsums, repeated listens revealed the album's true creativeness, easily overlooked upon a casual first listen.

The album starts out with the instrumental track, "[ActI] Satellites [Radio-9:48a]". This track, like many to follow on this album, is transitional in nature; not necessarily a song by itself. Some may consider these types of tracks as mood setting, others as filler.

"The Pure Design of Light" is truly a delight to the senses. We get a touch of old-school sampling, good vocals, not overdone with effects, and a nice layering of sounds often missing - complex enough to appreciate without muddling the song.

"Prozac, God & the Atomic Bomb" follows and demands the listener get up and move. A catchy song with a nice interplay of male and female vocals, with a touch of piano thrown in. "Erase [Rub/Out]" starts out a bit slow, but ends up as an energetic song, though a bit short on time (2:16).

Almost halfway through, "Reunion", the 11th track, turns the tempo down a bit with a simple piano melody and slightly whispered vocals, backed by subtle female vocals. Reminds me of a caged animal, full of power, but tempered. You know that below the surface is a force to be reckoned with.

"(A)=Arcsin", a very short track (1:45) - seems to be a foray into drum'n'bass territory. The next track, "Hymn_01", is one of my favorite tracks on this album, though I'll admit I have a propensity for fast, energetic tracks, worthy of the dancefloor. This should definitely find its way to your local club - if not, demand it.

Scree:Transmissions takes you on a journey through many vocal and musical styles, which may be difficult to sift through at first, but is well worth the effort in the end. If I had a criticism of the album, it would be that I would have liked to see less transitional tracks and some of the shorter tracks lengthened out to full song length; that said, the album is described as conceptual in nature. Scree:Transmissions is definitely worth a listen and has many great songs on it, but as with many complex works, it may take a while to grow on you.


-legion

Rating 7 out of 10


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