Ed Schrader's Music Beat: Riddles (Carpark) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, January 27th, 2021  

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat



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In the late '90s and early '00s, multitudinous duos tested the conventional three-and-four-piece approach to composing and performing music. A twist to the traditional expectation of the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals emerged, and in the likeness of Flat Duo Jets, The White Stripes, Death From Above 1979, and No Age proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the age old conventional expectation created a risk, producing expansive sounds under personnel contraction.

It worked, and it flourished, albeit temporarily. And even though Ed Schrader began his artistic endeavors as a solo act, in 2010 he recruited bassist Delvin Rice, establishing a duo that summons the spirit of the wildly inventive Brainiac. Like a ticking time bomb, they exploded onto the landscape with one of 2012's finest albums, Jazz Mindan album that was one part Captain Beefheart, another part Mr. Bungle, and another part the future of rock and roll, which is chaos and structuralism. Think if John Cage discovered The Ramones and never looked back.

Unlike their Baltimore counterparts Animal Collective, Ed Schrader's Music Beat sounds like the city that spawned him. Guttural, distraught, yet resilient, the band enlisted fellow experimentalist and electronic savant Dan Deacon to assist on the boards for their latest release, Riddles. The partnership presents a two-fold issue. Would Deacon attempt to tame the band's penchant for disorder, or would he permit them to evolve without a hint of overproduction? The result lies somewhere in between.

Distorted bass and looped vocals begins the album's invocation with "Dunce." Schrader's voice borrows from the bluesy baritone of Morphine's Mark Sandman without defiling the late singer's memory. The noir-influenced "Seagulls" swings hard and scourges its way through the track to a searing end.

The difference between Jazz Mind, 2014's Party Jail, and Riddles is intensity. "Rust," Riddles' strongest affront to the senses, fans the flames when both Rice's bass groove and Schrader's screaming yawp strike a match on a tinderbox and allow the remains to rest wherever they may lie. "Kid Radium" perpetuates the angst while threading melody into its manic rhythm.

In the end, Riddles neither betrays Schrader's cacophonous vision nor bends its will toward a more polished effort. Instead, it continues to construct the band's reputation built on unpredictability and danger. (www.edschradersmusicbeat.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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