Friday, August 11, 2006
Blood Meridian--Kick Up the Dust (New)
Album-Kick Up the Dust
Release Date-Aug 8, 2006
Biography-by Marisa Brown Blood Meridian, a group that started in a hotel room during a Black Halos tour (of which the singer, songwriter, and guitarist of Blood Meridian, Matt Camirand, was a part), took their name from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, and looked to mix punk, Americana, and rock influences together. Adding fellow Vancouver musicians Joshua Wells (Camirand's Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain bandmate) on drums, Kevin Grant on bass, Jeff Lee on guitar, and Shira Blustein on organ and piano, the group began to gain attention in its native Canada, eventually releasing its V2 debut, Kick Up the Dust, in 2006. Review-by Marisa Brown Though he's already a part of Vancouver-based Pink Mountaintops, Black Halos, and Black Mountain, Matt Camirand apparently wanted yet another outlet to express himself artistically. Hence, Blood Meridian, which — while there's still that same indie rock messiness found in Camirand's other bands — shies away some from the electric guitar that was so important with those groups, focusing more on keyboards and acoustic sounds, including banjos. Not that their debut, Kick Up the Dust, is a folky album: there are clear '90s rock influences, from the Nirvana-inspired "Soldiers of Christ" to the punk revival vocals on "Work Hard, for What?" to the Shins-ish "Try for You." But these allusions are often only secondary to Blood Meridian's other elements, most notably the haunting campfire chorus on "In the Forest, Under the Moon" and the Western-styled spacious guitar riffs in "Good Lover." It's these, used so effectively, that separate them from other indie rock bands and give them a style of their own, a style that's interesting and yet still familiar. It's a mixture of loneliness and despair and indignation and love, and while Camirand does often sound a lot like Conor Oberst, he doesn't possess the self-righteousness that the Bright Eyes singer has, and still manages to write lyrics that are thoughtful, interesting, and strangely fun at the same time. Sometimes his voice does get a little grating, or at least monotonous, with its obvious difficulty singing more than a few notes on the scale without falling out of tune, and the basic song structure is generally the same (acoustic guitar with simple accented lines from additional guitars and a keyboard), but there's still something extremely inviting about Kick Up the Dust. It's as if Blood Meridian are in an empty saloon, beckoning at you to come sit with them, join in on the chorus for a song or two, and then get up and go back on your way without ever learning anyone's name. It's a fleeting intimacy, it passes as the door swings shut behind you, but it's great nonetheless.
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