Written By: Darwin Green
Within the first bar of music I thought, “Sonic Youth.” But no, it was “Cinema, Cinema.” Both bands possess the same qualities. They’re both unafraid to head in directions that wouldn’t make sense to most people. They both use feedback as an instrument. They both have a sweeping, unfettered interest in meditative soundscapes. To call Cinema, Cinema experimental would be to deny what Sonic Youth has done before them, but CC doesn’t fit anywhere in the pop genre or in any other mainstream rut either.
With moments of System of a Down, especially on the song “RX,” they definitely have moments of punk-metal-alternative, which is, I guess, some form of mainstream rock. The sum of its parts, however, defies easy categorization, and maybe they did it on purpose. If Deerhoof suddenly acquired a metal edge, it wouldn’t sound too far-off from the sound of this band.
“Drydive,” for example, with its wailing guitars reminiscent of Neil Young (a musician that largely influenced Sonic Youth), dives straight down the throat of rock, but swerves close to 80s heavy metal, a la Judas Priest or Molly Hatchet. Then it takes a left turn into The Who territory for the middle eight, returning into a mélange of screeching guitars and grunts (orgasms?). It’s a confusing blend at times, and forces the listener to choose whether the sound is uncomfortable or innovative. People who listen to pop for the most part will not understand it. Those with a sense of humor or an open mind will probably get a kick out of it.
All this being said, the next song, “An Obstacle,” sounds like a softer Pearl Jam ditty, full of lalala’s and plenty of reverb. It’s probably the most accessible song on the album.
I will say this though. They do carry an energy throughout the album that keeps one’s head nodding, and keeps unpredictability high, similar to being forced to run blindfolded down a road, barefoot, with hot coals spread out at random.