Alvarius B. and Cerberus Shoal CD review [Northeast Indie]

Music Reviews
Alvarius B. and Cerberus Shoal CD review [Northeast Indie]
Dec 1, 2003, 03:56


Vim and Vigour… is a cross county collaboration that was initiated when Cerberus Shoal sent one of their songs to Sun City Girl Alan Bishop and suggested that he have a go at covering it. Using the assumed name Alvarius B., Bishop's arrangement of Shoal's treatise “The Real Ding” starts off the disc and is followed by a pair of grisly B.-penned folk ballads. His demented vocals add new meaning to the word ‘deadpan' and set the stage nicely for Cerberus Shoal's half of the disc. Sounding as redemptive as Alvarius B. does sinful, their acoustic guitars, banjos and choral voices shed light into previously darkened recesses but still sound discomforting. In the hands of Cerberus Shoal, Alvarius B's “Viking Christmas” comes off like a twisted carnival waltz and the chants and talking voices in “Blood Baby” sound as if they could be coming from the cafeteria of an insane asylum. Completing the cycle is the tour de force of the disc: Cerberus Shoal's own version of “The Real Ding.” The grandiose, twenty minute long piece forgoes further descriptions of butchery and is composed of verse after verse of lyrics that abstractly associate Democracy, extreme consumption, lies, fear, guilt, hunger and coldness. While the song is being delivered clacking typewriter keys are occasionally audible though the disc ends not with the punctuating ding of a carriage return but with the sound of children's laughter. It seems, rightfully, as if nothing will ever be resolved. [Northeast Indie]

-Jeffrey L. Ouch

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