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Undersmile : Caretaker - Undersmile

This is an interesting split between Indie Postcore Caretaker vs indefinable Undersmile.

Caretaker formed in 1998 and played their first show in April 99. They have since then released several records. Mind you, I wasnít aware of that. So that band is kind of old, isnít it? When I found out about their background, it surprised me a bit because that maturity isnít what jumps at your ears once the disc is in the player. On the contrary, there is a sense of urgency in that Indie Postrock, a Punk-ish virulence and a taste for rough edges that youíd think youíd find in younger acts.

Caretaker does belong to the Post-spectrum of Doom. Their songwriting reveals that Postrock/Postcore love for momentums, growing tensions and other skilfully constructed sonic expansions. The first song really is a foretaste of more consistent and better things to come. The second songs starts more quietly, the round notes of the bass weave a soft carpet that contrasts with the rather sour guitar chords; the male voice is shrill and a bit broken. The melancholic singing follows the rhythmic patterns, modelling its breath on the instrumentsí flow. Itís a good illustration of the Postcore technique, whereby the music is first and foremost a matter of contrasts. The intensity rises, the music swells, the voice is coupled with another more savage one; the drums become more dense, then, when you feel the beast ready to ejaculate, all slows down and here comes the Postcore break, threatening, violent and feverish, a rush of excitement: pounding rhythm, soaring guitar and screaming singer. Then all stops suddenly, no orgasmic vertigo, a premature ejaculation: it leaves you wanting more. All you have to do is wipe yourself and proceed to the next track...

...When Undersmile steps in. Undersmile is the womanís vertical smile. Thatís what I read anyway, I wouldnít have guessed that. If the name holds some erotic connotations, their music erases them brutally. Undersmile play a particularly atonal Doom. Itís quite hard to label in fact. Stoner Doom could suits if youíre not too punctilious about the Ďlegal contentí. Itís music that is Ďstupidí (note the inverted commas) and hearing the girls mumbling their neurasthenic sermons will make you stupid too. The rhythm is very slow, depressed and stricken. The mechanics are very simple: you have a little melodic pattern that the guitar repeats again and again till every last bit of energy leaves them all and that they give up maintaining the tempo any longer; then all collapses in a palpable despondency, a paralysing mugginess where, in a final spurt of effort, you cry for help, to wake up; but the veil is even thicker and the drums keep knocking the long nail of doom up to the hilt. No respite will be granted.

The last track shows a real attempt at giving the song a more complex rhythm. The chords are brief and like aborted, it brings weird dynamics and a climate of complete dereliction. Our two depressive oracles keep vomiting their incomprehensible blasphemies. The words have no meanings, no importance anymore, what only counts is the trance, the ghostly presence that drowns into the exhaustion of a moronic orchestra, releasing its notes almost reluctantly.

Undersmile kept no naivete, its stupidity is lucid, almost cynical in its refusal of melody, of songwriting, of bombast, of any reference to the history of Rock; Undersmile have left the track and donít sound like anyone else. Doom anchorites whose music is the incarnation of forsaking.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Yeehah! (Caretaker)
2. The Inexorable March (Caretaker)
3. Big Wow (Undersmile)
4. Anchor (Undersmile)

Duration : Approx. 35 mintes

Visit the Undersmile bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-10-15 by Bertrand Marchal
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