3 June 2014 (Holy Hell Records)
By Joe DeBonis
Communicating feeling through music has to be one of the most fundamental and powerful concepts that come along with creating a composition of music. Whether the music is meant to make one feel sad, angry or just down right happy, most if not all the time, music is created to make someone feel a sensation due directly to the music. Math rock is damn good at creating feelings and Cleanup are a math rock trio based out of Ft. Worth, Texas making music full of feels. Really, the only thing felt while listening to their melodic and complex riffs is pure happiness. From the quick and bright guitar work to the light and balanced vocals that sometimes permeate the tracks, the whole project has an airiness to it that helps it dance along one’s ear drums, casually tickling the cochlea. Carefree is a good word to use to describe this kind of music and carefree is a good word to use when thinking about how to feel when listening to this music. The drums offer a wonderful backing track of succinct time and rhythm that power the whole album along as does the wandering bass lines. Music that has such a elusive poise is enjoyable to listen to, and if done right can make one feel relaxed as the complicated music echoes about, engulfing the listener in a cocoon of a musical world, complex enough to make them forget about their troubles but peaceful enough to lend a sense of harmony to the formula.
There is plenty of flowery language to describe a math rock album. Most if not the entire genre depends on intricate guitar work and a nimble feel to the whole piece of work, lending itself to being described descriptively. It’s essentially what the genre lives on. The finite points of guitar playing are realized through this genre and the need to appreciate the sophisticated playing is a common theme of the genre as well. Cleanup has entered into this realm with quite the bang of an album, covering all of their math rock bases and essentially announcing they are ready to play with the big boys of the genre like Tera Melos, Minus the Bear, And So I Watch You From Afar and Battles.
It really now comes down to exposure. Cleanup are no worse musicians than any of the previously named bands, and by playing a genre of music that has a decent following, through some extensive touring and publicity, there is not a chance in hell that Cleanup won’t find some moderate critical success. A band usually needs a gimmick though or some sort of go to thing about them that separates them from the pack. Luckily, the nonchalant vocals that sometimes appear on the album do a good job of adding to the tricky guitar work to push them over the edge. “Save the Claras” and “Ghost of Duncan” both have the almost concealed vocals appear, and those are the tracks that stand out. Having that vocal presence makes the album appear fuller and have more of a backbone. Not that there are not other math rock bands with vocals or that other math rock bands without vocals are not as good. It’s that Cleanup’s combination of their some what rare vocals and musicianship along with the fact that the joy their music brings to the table have made Sun Life worth listening to and made Cleanup themselves worth a shot at getting big.
Rating: Liked It