The review you are reading right now came about when the band in question, Sadred, went out on quite a limb. Contacting me after reading a recent review I had done of the new Mars Volta album, Amputechture, Sadred said that I should check them out and do a review of their 2006 demo as they had a lot in common with the Mars Volta. Seeing that the Mars Volta is one of my favorite bands, Sadred's statement of musical intent set my expectations very high. In short, the band were pretty ballsy to compare themselves to a band I like so much; it definitely made me a lot more harsh as a potential critic.
With this in mind, how did their 2006 demo fare under my scrutiny? Ironically enough, Sadred have in some ways not only exceeded my expectations, but also the bar set so high by the Mars Volta as well. This demo features polished, slick, and downright catchy free-jazz mixed with moments of stark beauty and surprisingly deep amplifier-worship. Infinitely more focused than the Mars Volta, Sadred are also fairly technical, yet never fall into the trap of self-indulgence that other progressive rock bands often sink into. Despite this, the shortest song is well over seven minutes, and all three tracks are lengthy compositions. Because of all these facts, Sadred on paper would seem to be a very aloof band solely for musical snobs; in reality, Sadred have elements that will appear to virtually any type of music fan. Varied and compelling, the music speaks for itself with its simple, well-plotted meandering.
I truly believe that the song "Glass" could be a radio-rock single for example. A slithering bass-line frolics in wash after wash of transparent, ethereal guitar chords. The song goes into moody, beautiful territory, all with a faint luminous tinge. This unusual fluid feel (offset by an underlying intensity that is fiery and passionate) maintains all the consistency and spark of a jellyfish glowing in the darkest recesses of the ocean. As the song billows by, a thick, choking cloud of surprisingly deep sludge-rock drifts in and out in the mix. The band isn't afraid to solo either; a psychedelic hailstorm mid-song will convert guitar-wank fans in droves....and did I mention that its blistering climax back into the song' original, funky bassline is damn impressive anyways?
"The Morning Paper" has some truly elegant piano keys and jazzy radiance to it. Listeners will get a fantastic vibe of chilling out in some interstellar space lounge, as a jazz band plays in zero-gravity. And what zero-gravity it is! Sadred takes full advantage of their apparent musical weightlessness; the song flips inwards and outwards and all angles in between. A surprisingly tight guitar solo leads into twinkling ambience and then a soaring updraft that eventually comes down into soft, comforting drone. This song borders on divine experience.
"Jack's Idea" is actually a pretty good one. Bad puns aside, the band goes into chiling organ hums and twinkling percussion before a massive, angular riff overtakes it. Silky smooth piano passages crop up after this, and the song never strays from delightfully challenging complexity. What can I say folks? I dig music that rocks out AND makes me ponder the intricate inner-workings of life at the same time. If you really want a headspace to zone out in, check out the entirely instrumental noise freakout that is this song's extended jam session and let your mind wander wherever it may lead.
In conclusion, this demo provides much more entertainment than most of its contemporaries. Though it may be three songs, Sadred excell at cramming multiple genres and fusing them with uncanny ease. As I also mentioned earlier, this talented New York quartet are also masters of turning long-winded jams into interesting, compelling pieces of coherent music. In a world where the majority of rock music is either being dumbed down to the point of flatlining, or hitting the books to the point where you need a PhD to understand the musical revolution, Sadred strike a much welcome balance between the two. Wonderfully brilliant, Sadred stand out from the art rock pack not just because they are so intelligent, but because they can still appeal to base human emotion in spite of it all. Keep an eye on these guys, they're going to go places.
Sadred's 2006 Demo
2. The Morning Paper
3. Jack's Idea
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