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Boomkat Product Review:
It's good to have a grand plan in mind when you're working on a record, I mean look what happened to everyone's favourite Christian Sufjan Stevens - he tells everyone he's gonna make a record about every US state (that's a lot of music...) and next thing we know he's an indie superstar. Well Andrew Douglas Rothbard may not quite be as ambitious but he's dipping his toe into the sea of grandeur with 'Abandoned Meander' which is the first in a proposed five part series. So far nothing seems too far reaching but when you take into account that the reasoning behind the five-part series is to show the Discordian law of fives; Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis, Parenthesis, and Paralysis, it instantly becomes a much more epic undertaking. Indeed on explaining the first stage (Thesis) which this album represents, he details I Ching, the goddess Venus and Tarot cards... I'm sensing a progressive rock monsterpiece here but I couldn't be more wrong. After spending his formative years playing keys and bass in VSS, Slaves and Pleasure Forever he became a virtual recluse and busied himself working on this debut solo effort, and from the sounds of it his seclusion has paid off. What Rothbard has managed to come up with is a weighty tome in the psych-folk genre that while borrowing heavily from fellow jangly Americans Devandra Banhart, Animal Collective and the like, manages to sound fresh and dangerously inventive. With a sea of sludgy effects and more incestuous twanging than a Mid-West banjo competition we have an album that is intrinsically American and yet manages to retain a spooky air of cave-dwelling mystery. In fact there's something eerily Tim Burton-esque to 'Abandoned Meander', maybe it's just the fact that the winter is drawing closer and closer but this record reminds me somewhat of 'Corpse Bride' or 'Sleepy Hollow'. It's not like the music is similar (it's not) but Rothbard's shimmering mystique conjures up perfectly the spiraling psychedelic absurdity of Burton's most gothic creations. A beautifully cinematic record without ever resorting to the usual devices, 'Abandoned Meander' may only be the first statement in Rothbard's proposed five, but if this is any indication of how good the rest will be then I'm already foaming at the mouth waiting for the next. Very good stuff indeed.