What happens when Steve Brooks from Torche resurrects the band he started in 1992 and gets his fuzz on with Kurt Ballou behind the desk? “Oblation” that’s what. Torche are known for their brightly coloured surreal cartoon like album covers. Floor have the colours but utilise pastel crystalline shapes to create something out of a C64 game. I love it before i even hit play!
When it comes to the aural spectacle it is all about fuzzed up fast sludge with clean vox. There is a more alternative feel than “metal” here but that it was I would expect from Brooks and chums.
After the title track sets the scene with a bleak sounding riff that is reminiscent of Yob, track 2 – Rocinante picks the pace up. The clean vocals allow the emotion to ooze from the songs and this is a prime example. When the doomy break comes it shouldn’t work……but it does and serves as both outro and intro to Trick Scene. This next track reminds me of The Breeders on Mogadon. It has similar rhythms and structures to Kim Deals mob. Sludge purists will probably baulk at the release but most other alternative rock fans and stoner heads will find a lot to like here in Oblations crooked passages.
“Find Away” even hints at Alice In Chains with its mournful riff and chorus which found me singing it after the track had finished. This isn’t something that can be said for many pieces under the sludge umbrella.
“The Key” opens with a riff so generic I am racking my brains to where I have heard it before . By the time I have started to figure it out though the track has finished. “New Man” is a raw depiction of a love hate relationship played out to a pounding rhythm. By the time Sister Sophia kicks in it becomes apparent that Floor have found their groove and are sticking to it. There is little movement away from the blueprint and fans of Torche will enjoy the music emanating from their speakers without getting overly excited. ” Love Comes Crushing” starts with a crushing riff soon joined by crashing percussion that gets the body swaying but lacks any urgency and I begin to yearn for some of the rapid Husker DU melodies of Torche. “War Party” heads in the right direction but seems to get stuck in second gear when it sounds like it wants to tear up the asphalt and leave a beautiful trail of dust in its wake.
“Homegoings and Transitions” featuring Mellissa Friedman harmonising with Brooks in an English accent and a synth away from being Gary Numan – Berserker era. In fact it probably would sound a little better if Gazza joined them on it. “Forever Still” offers more riffage and even a little emo (think early stuff not MCR) but really doesn’t cut it as a bookend to the album.
Torche fans will feel shortchanged and Floor fans have probably moved onto Torche anyhoo.
Not a bad album but not as good as the cover promised.
(6/10 Matt Mason)