Mustard Gas and Roses CD review by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Mustard Gas and Roses CD review by Luc Rodgers
Mar 25, 2008, 17:45


MUSTARD GAS AND ROSES (M.G.R.) Wavering on the Cresting Heft CD

Isis are a band that balance the thin line between beautiful, moving pieces and annoying, art-for-art's sake annoyance. Their pedigree is satisfactory (Aaron Turner being the head honcho of the much-touted Hydra Head Records) and even their mission statement is noteworthy (“I like the idea of preserving at least a little shred of mystery and making the band to be more an entity—without hopefully sounding too pretentious—as a work of art” -Aaron Turner). It's just that it's so boring. Where predecessors, such as Neurosis and Godflesh, steer and drive the songs into new planes, Isis simply appear to be content with their surroundings. Why all this talk of Isis? Mustard Gas and Roses is Isis' Michael Gallagher's (guitar) solo side project, you see. It should be interesting to hear where he is going with this…

When musicians do something of this nature it is usually to experiment with other forms of music, perhaps, or display their own song-craft. Mustard Gas and Roses is boggling in this sense for here we find Gallagher doing what he already does with Isis, except stripped down but not really. This is layered guitar upon layered guitar upon layered guitar drones upon…nothing. The sound is full, yes, but there doesn't seem to be a point to any of it. No movements, no feeling. It is entirely soulless and void of anything that would arch an eyebrow or nudge a neighbor about. Sleep-core… Bore-core. As it plays from song to song, little or no difference is heard in inflection or meaning. As quiet and simple as it is, one would think a heartbeat would be audible, but no. It's dead.

Yes, there is an audience for this kind of audible candlelight-and-bubble bath music, and those folks are already hip to this release and the hundreds of carbon copies like this out there. If you are a freshman in the Isis school of music/thought, then consider this: if you are disgruntled by parts of songs being vastly different from each other and you like simple ideas explained to you as slowly as possible, by all means this is for you. For the rest of us who like true climaxes, wind blowing from more than one direction, and noticeable differences between releases, go elsewhere. [Conspiracy]

-Luc Rodgers


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