Tuesday 14 October 2014

Concave - Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 26/8/2014
Label: Oscillator Records

‘Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None’ DD track listing:

1). Wasteland (01:11)
2). Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None (04:43)
3). Falling Towards Earth (04:51)


Seaside, California based multi-instrumentalist James Findlay brings to life the sonic fury of Concave with heavy guitars, thundering drums and creative bass lines. Thoughtful melodies are conveyed through effects laden guitars that complete the soundscape of this instrumental rock music.

Concave began in the year 2006 out of the struggle and failure to find like-minded musicians close by.  Through 3 full length records Findlay has continually melded a indie rock and post metal sound that highlights the heavy influence of bands like Hum, Shiner, Isis, Failure, Built To Spill, Pelican, Dianogah and Don Caballero.

Continually driven by the need to create challenging and thoughtful music, Concave continues into the future with the release of “Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None" out on Oscillator Records, August 26th 2014.

The Band:

James Findlay | Drums, Guitar and Bass


This three song project by multi-instrumentalist James Findlay, isn't your typical three or four piece band. All instruments are played by one person. Carefully arranged and recorded. It comes off as much less an "album" and more of a Brainchild.  While the songs lack vocals of any kind and may put off some listeners who have been raised and conditioned to expect vocals of some sort, it more than makes up for it in creativity and imagery.

Each song seems to be intended to flow into the next, much like a small "concept album" if you will. Much like Pink Floyd (or even Opeth, if you demand a more metal reference, although Concave sounds nothing like either of those.)

The opening track "Wasteland" is a minute and eleven seconds of what almost sounds like warning sirens played in the desert while filming a scene in Death Valley, or warning you of some kind of forthcoming disaster.  It seems to be there entirely to set the mood for the next song "Jack of All Trades, Master of None", which really comes off as the centrepiece to the entire project. This is what you came to hear, and this will give you the clearest idea of what Concave is about.   What it's about is a mood piece. The fairly-heavy riffing, and solid drumming set a nice pace for the wailing, and rather wistful leads, that really take the place of a traditional singer and go a long way to setting the almost melancholy mood the EP is painting.

If you check out this album, and are expecting a traditional rock line-up, or have expectations about what heavy music should be, you may be disappointed. Concave is not that band. You're going to want to keep looking. However, if you are tired of tradition, and looking for something a little more "laid back", or something a little more on the softer, more intellectual side, then this is for you.

The title track "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" probably sums up the artist's playing style. Neither the drums, or guitars or bass are going to amaze you with blistering audio pyrotechnics or masterful Randy Rhoads soloing, and truthfully, I doubt that was the intended goal. What Findlay DOES do, is paint a nice slightly dark, moody, yet almost sweet picture with this music. I LOVE the ominous "Sabbathy" guitar tone that carries the undertone of the whole project. You'll never hear me complain about that kind of guitar tone.

If I have one complaint, it would be that there is less than 10 minutes of material here, and I would have loved to hear more of it, to see where the artist is trying to take me. Pelican fans, or again, fans of metal concept albums, should absolutely check this out.

I'll be interested to see where this goes and what’s next from Concave.

Words by: Mike Borsum

You can pick up a copy here 

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