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Sic Alps - A long Way Around to a Shortcut [Animal Disquise - 2008]

Sic Alps are a band who really know how to mix it up. It's hard to know what direction these guys are going to take from one recording to the the next. This handy compilation CD collects a bunch of currently expensive vinyl and cassette collectables in one package. Though a little less scarce than the singles this is drawn from, A long Way Around to a Shortcut is itself limited to 1000 copies.

It's no wonder that the Sic Alps latest album was released by Siltbreeze Records. Their music is raggedly recorded, and the artistic use of overblown feedback plays a fairly strong role in some of their most successful moments, an aesthetic shared by many a Siltbreeze band since the late eighties. But they're also a bit difficult to pin down. The best song here may be a Strapping Fieldhands cover, Description of the Harbor. They pin down the nautical folk element which made the Fieldhands unique, and may have even trumped their noise-making ability with a raucous, dare I say, focused feedback assault. The budget level recording works out to be an asset rather than a hindrance. And that's not an easy thing to pull off.

It helps that there's loads of inventive tunes here. There's everything from neo-mod rock to tape manipulation to catchy 60's-esque pop, to weird stripped down, noisy psych. It'll probably take the average listener a few spins before getting past the lo-fi production, but once it clicks, you'll realise it wouldn't work as well any other way. Why does it work? Because these guys can play, and they fuck things up in a way that doesn't sound the least bit manufactured. Everything is a bit skewed, and even though they approach some well worn musical paths, they somehow come out sounding like nobody else. A long Way Around to A Shortcut is a collection well worth your attention, maybe even surpassing the band's full length releases.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Erwin Michelfelder
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