Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop
2001 album for Austin based power pop combo often compared to The Beatles & who count Liam Gallagher of Oasis amongst their biggest fans. 14 tracks including, 'Last Of The Mohicans', 'Marathon Man', 'Baby Freeze Queen' & '... more »
2001 album for Austin based power pop combo often compared to The Beatles & who count Liam Gallagher of Oasis amongst their biggest fans. 14 tracks including, 'Last Of The Mohicans', 'Marathon Man', 'Baby Freeze Queen' & '40 Watt Solution'.
In a Just and Fair universe, this disc would top the charts
Alan Hutchins | Denver, CO United States | 10/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cotton Mather is possibly the best American band that hordes of music lovers and potential fans have never heard of, let alone heard. Their recorded output has been woefully under-distributed/promoted on obscure labels domestically, and they have ended up with a better European following than here in their home country (outside of their Austin, Texas environs). They seem to effortlessly churn out great music that could roughly be called power pop but is chock full of Beatles and other sixties influences.
"The Big Picture" is their 3rd full length CD and was released first in England in 2001. It's a follow up 1997's excellent "Kon Tiki" disc, and in many ways, the material, performances and overall sound actually manage to surpass the high quality of that disc.
After a short sound collage (which includes the unmistakeable sound of a guitar being plugged into an amp that's already on), it starts off with a bang with the white hot rocker "Last of the Mohicans", which smokes into your speakers, rocks your world, and starts breaking down into guitar noise already at the minute-forty-five mark! This segues via some sound effects and trippy disembodied vocals straight into another steady rocking highlight, "Marathon Man". The guitar figure that is playing counterpoint on the chorus bears strong resemblance to the one from the Oasis song "Supersonic". Some kind of backwards vocal chant (like a chain gang or work crew) drops into the ending of this song, cuts off abruptly and reverbs for a while. This is a strong one-two punch of songs and sounds to open the disc.
Robert Harrison's voice continues to channel the ghost of John Lennon with a bit of Glen Tilbrook (of Squeeze) thrown in. This is especially apparent on the next song, the slow, dreamy "Baby Freeze Queen" featuring processed vocals that could have come from the "I Am the Walrus" era Lennon. (By the way, Cotton Mather's 1999 British EP called "Hotel Baltimore" had "Baby Freeze Queen II" on it.) Next up is a British single "40 Watt Solution"-it chugs along somewhat psychedelically on a very similar drum beat as the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and has plenty of trippy effects and sounds to further nail down the late sixties vibe.
Next comes "Glory Eyes"-textbook British-influenced American power pop which exceptional chord changes and major/minor key modulations-watch for the abrupt shift to a slowed down tape of the fade out chord near the end. Glistening harp brings the gentle "Monterrey Honey" in with a very Squeeze-like melody and vocal line-it builds to encompass strings and various percussion. This is the biggest pop production of the whole disc. Bird sounds and a clanging noise close this epic.
Back to concise power pop with distorted vocals with the next one, "AMPs of Sugarland". Things calm a bit for "Panama Slides", a charming song with a good chord sequence and catchy chorus with vocal harmonies. Watch for the reverb to notch up dramatically at the end, giving the fadeout an echoey, otherworldly quality.
Simple accoustic guitar brings in "Pine Box Builder"-this quiet tune recalls the low key, sleepy vibe of the "White Album" songs "I'm So Tired" and maybe a bit of even "Rocky Racoon". The most mainstream-sound guitar-based pop song on the album is next with "Story of Anna"- the lead vocals lapse into Italian for the last verse or so for some reason. "Condo Lights" starts with a somewhat spooky guitar figure and highly Lennon-esque vocals-and stays that way with no extensive backing. Once again, there is a "White Album" vibe to the sound.
This disc concludes with what is listed as three songs but is really only one conventional 'song' with two different sections of sounds/music tacked on the end. "Ramon Finds Waterfalls" starts out gentle and accoustic, builds to a big crescendo, and is linked directly to "Waterfalls" at the 3:51 mark -a continuation of the 'D' chord ending of "Ramon..." with a Beatle-esque "Revolution 9" style collage of sounds/choirs and pieces of music tacked on, then fading out into a quiet piano rumination called "Running Coyote Advances".
This astoundingly original and yet firmly Beatles-influenced disc is one of the best things you'll hear this or any year. You owe it to yourself to find out about it, get it, and play it contantly.
If only several million people would heed this very sound advice, Cotton Mather would be a secret no more."