Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
We live outside an age of black and white. Things are no longer in stark relief, but felt in shades. Greek and Roman statues are now understood to have been painted various, bright colours, not produced in stately grey. Things are not all they seem. Why else would Twin Peaks resonate so startlingly, way down the generational pathway?
Which is exactly why the brand new release from Ottawa/Austin psych rockers The Red Daggers is actually quite refreshing. All Empire’s Fall is a twisted little single: one A side, one B side, and nothing but garage swagger. This is an album of rich, vinyl black, and crisp, flashbulb explosive white highlights.
“My North America” is the late night national anthem, the highway burning up on the stereo. The shades of slacker surf rock are strong on this one, with stoner drones of synths rushing beneath the flat-stacked, solid drum beats. Without declarative purpose, the track lingers, enfolding the spirit of dispossession within a song of such subjective tension and allure.
The drive is still there, but the wheels are off the cliff on “All Empires Fall.” There’s a deep moral below this title track, one which leads to the sound of monks chanting and columns collapsing. The shifting synth drums add an edge the highly organic opening track lacked. Guitars are clouded beneath the drums and vocals this time around, reducing the melody to an after effect, an echo of the real rush of the tune. The churning swell of synth on “North America” is reduced to a full on drone, a ghost melody to pluck out the eyes of the Empire.
We need more little couplets of rock like All Empires Fall; it’s a wonderfully constructed piece of album. It goes well with any main course of rock and psych, and will leave a beat and a sickly sweet antipathy in your americana glands.
Top Track: both of em
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)