Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Anthony Bickel | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This band, unfortunetly was one of the early 90's best kept secrets. At the time they were labeled "art rock" and thus were kept on the back shelf of the music stores. What they actually were was what most bands today are trying so desperately to be. This album is raw and creative "alternative" or "college radio" music ranging from the slow heartfelt ballet to the full on rocking number. The band is lead by their singer April Combs' amazing voice and her brother James' song writing. Each member plays deliberatey creative so that each song is more powerful than the last, not a wasted moment- no phoning it in. It is unfortunate they never blew up and got the recognition they deserved, but c'mon it was that weird era of Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Gangsta Rap. If you can find a rare cd out there by Arson Garden you'd be wise to pick it up fast and get in on a truely "underground" and amazing band. Don't be a poser."
An Exhibition of Controlled Chaos
Bubbis Thedog | Atlantis | 11/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Folks, this is quite possibly the only band that -in my opinion-- never composed a bad song -not even a 'sort-of' bad one. I was fortunate enough to see Arson Garden several times at a claustrophobic little bar in Huntington, WV, around ten years ago. They played bolstered on a rickety stage only a couple of feet from the fissured, sticky-with-beer cement: where gothed-out, sedated barflies blew smoke in the band's direction; jealous females afforded glares of arrogance toward the slender, puffy- red-lipped, shoulder-length bleach-blonde in a streamlined dress singing angelically into the mic; drunken, underaged young men sat bobbing their heads on the edge of the stage, in front of the blaring Marshall stacks with beer-filled, transluscent plastic cups dangling in-hand. But despite these distractions, the band played-every time I saw them-as though it were their last night on Earth. They actually gained strength as each show proceeded, whereas many others whom I had the displeasure of watching buckled under the agitation. The fearless emotion that Arson Garden displayed on-stage resonated on their three ingenious studio albums: "Under Towers", "Wisteria", and "The Belle Stomp".Chaotic as the music on "The Belle Stomp" may be, there's a soothing quality to it all. April Combs's benevolent, mature voice creates an obscure balance with the antagonistic combination of erratic drumming; clanky bass lines; and the ever-present, biting and out-of-tune pickings of sibling James Combs. Indeed: oddly enough, the resultant sound, though very active, is entrancing. Rarely do multiple intensively-played instruments (including voice), when coalesced, yield a product that is so subtle and hypnotic. There's some strange, yet incredibly beautiful, chemisty going on here; the payoff is priceless. Most of the songs on "The Belle Stomp" are medium- to fast-paced. Exertive, cracking drums and an menacing ride cymbal, complemented perfectly by the streaming rudimentary bass lines, create a particular intensity that is truly singular. Rhythms and melodies are often improvised, but never submerging to levels of, let's say, frenetic punk or, conversely, predictable and perfectly-played guitar solos. The chaos is adroitly controlled on "The Belle Stomp"; there's a point to every improvisation that exudes mastery of craft.This album is indicative of its era: it is one-of-a-kind and experimental. Arson Garden resembled very few -if any-- of their contemporaries. Perhaps listening to innovative early-'90s CD such as "The Belle Stomp" will remind you why rock is now seen as dead as disco."