Brass Box - The Cathedral - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Brass Box - The Cathedral

by James Weiskittel Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-05
Brass Box - The Cathedral
Brass Box - The Cathedral

While initially tagged as a noisy, shoegaze band, the L.A.-based Brass Box have broken their own mold with their latest release The Cathedral. With a sound that draws equally on ‘80s new wave and ‘90s alt-rock, the ten-song effort instantly evokes fond memories of yesteryear’s goth-tinged heyday. But the true magic of the band’s latest effort lies in how subliminally they weave their numerous influences into their songs.

The band, which features guitarists Neil Popkin and Matt Bennet, drummer Pablo Amador, and singer/bassist Ammo Bankoff, reportedly spent years working on The Cathedral, and it shows as the record bears all of the hallmarks of a labor of love. The record is chock full of concise, well-crafted songs that never threaten to overstay their welcome.

Opener “Bats” coasts upon a mid-tempo, drum and bass propelled groove, before crashing into a blissfully lush, half-time chorus. “Golden” feels like vintage Disintegration-era Cure while the shimmering, chiming guitars of “Surrender” have Johnny Marr written all over them.

But where The Cathedral’s first half features some of the band’s most amped up numbers to date, there’s also a healthy dose of atmosphere on the record. The meditative “Latency” is a blissful departure while the Cranberries-esque “Waves” sounds like one of the best songs O’Riordan (RIP) and Co. never wrote. Meanwhile, the droning “Roses” and the sweeping “Ivory Skies” set the stage perfectly for the captivating album closer “Parting Ways”.

Even though the band is tight as hell throughout, the real star for much The Cathedral’s running time is Bankoff. Her soaring vocals provide a melodic constant from song to song for what is, at times, a densely layered mix. While the band’s Bandcamp page sports a handful of previous releases, The Cathedral might as well be Brass Box’s debut, as the album is not only a notable departure from their past, but in a lot of ways, also eclipses it.

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