Capillary Action - So Embarrassing
Discorporate Records
Experimental Rock, Avant-Garde
11 songs (31:20)
Release year: 2009
Discorporate Records
Reviewed by Goat

New York Avant-Rockers Capillary Action here present the European release of their third album, and I’m still not sure I’ve understood it several listens later. Musically somewhere inbetween Mr Bungle and The Dillinger Escape Plan at their Jazziest, this is Frank Zappa reinvented at his most Avant-Garde. The band freely switch between styles and genres, going from Jazz to Indie to Hardcore to brass-backed big band, all in the space of two-minute opener Gambit, and it manages to mix the beauty of the melodies with the harshness of the technicalities perfectly. There’s little if any breaks between songs, so in essence this is one continuous piece of music, a Prog Rock jam that switches often and rarely gives the listener a break or a hook that is more than a few seconds long. Clearly, the amount of thought that has gone into this is mind-boggling. Whether it’s the Hammond organ of Elevator Fuck that soon switches to a Death Metal riff before a Latin funk section straight from a Mars Volta album starts stomping over your ears, or the smooth melancholy of Bloody Nose, Capillary Action drive a knowingly crazed path through popular music that will infuriate as many as it captivates.

It’s very much a matter of taste. Writing this review, I could see it either becoming my album of the year or a mid-seventies score, anything between a must-listen and a will-appeal-to-few. As of the moment, I honestly have no idea whether I’ll be listening to this daily or never again, it’s that kind of album. My typically open-minded ears love it each and every time, the frantic percussion and ambient chillout of Badlands, the ill-fitting orchestration of Paperweights... to be honest, the one thing the album lacks is a real emotional punch to it. It’s very flighty, not staying still long enough for you to become used to it, and an approach which allowed to listener to get a little comfortable on the carpet before whisking it away would have made for a better album overall. There is definite room for improvement, but considering mainman Jonathan Pfeffer is in his early twenties Capillary Action have much time to do it in. Looking at So Embarrassing for what it is as of this moment, it’s anything but an embarrassment for the band, proving their skills in both instrumentation and composition and resulting in an album that many lovers of the Avant-Garde will love. Soon to tour with Primus frontman Les Claypool, Capillary Action are well worth your interest.

Killing Songs :
Gambit, Elevator Fuck, Bloody Nose, Paperweights
Goat quoted 81 / 100
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