CANED & ABLE: Smoke… (Malicious Damage)


Posted on May 23rd 2008 12:43 am

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Caned & Able: Smoke...

Malicious Damage 2008
11 Tracks. 47mins22secs

Caned & Able is the multi-faceted project of Patrick ‘Trickster’ Bird and Martyn Savigar, with additional contribution from drummer Chris Bell and former Siouxsie & The Banshees guitarist John Klein, who once shared stage space as part of eighties glam goth punk band Specimen, and singer Anna Jacyszyn, and the attentive listener will also spot John Peel, Marc Bolan and Billie Holliday visiting from beyond the grave.

Smoke…, released on Malicious Damage, is a vastly eclectic collection which establishes unlikely bridges between densely layered trip hop, psychedelic pop, hypnotic ambient, dub and indie rock. As soon as one begins to feel comfortable in a particular setting, the pair swiftly change pace and direction to establish an entirely different décor, starting all over again and again.

Heavy, dense and sober, Trav’lin’ Light, which opens the album, is haunted by the ghost of Billie Holliday, tearing through clouds of effects and slow moving beats to carve chillingly tripping motifs upon a comatose soundtrack. A similar result is achieved with entirely different tools on the magnificent closing Orchestra, which builds on a Massive Attack-esque blanket of strings and beats tightly wrapped around soulful vocal drifts, which suddenly become saturated, literally, emotions running high, in its second half. In between these, Bird, Savigar and guests develop intriguing concepts and theories, based on the core duo’s taste for mashed up soundscapes and chemically infused music. On Wild On The Sidewalk, a familiar sounding riff is given an unexpected makeover, while Airhead, Soul Clapp and Killa Sound re-arrange the hip-hop furniture to fit the C&A ethic. White Space distils fine hints of Sergeant Pepper and smears them with a head-nodding groove and processed vocals, and, on Deaf Aid, a young jumbled up John Peels is heard talking about wildlife upon a rich backdrop of delayed and treated guitars melting over a steady beat. Elsewhere, Never Coming Back is a lush piece of electronica which could have been dug out from Alex Paterson’s vault, and Deuteronomy injects a slice of lazy soul funk to the mix.

With its incessant twists and turns, Smoke… surprises and entertains in equal measures all the way through. Caned & Able may not be reinventing the wheel with this album, but their ludic approach serves their finely tuned organised chaos rather perfectly, making this an album that is likely to repeatedly finds its way to your favourite music player.


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