marble stature The Offense we trust! Rural bullshit from the heart of Fox Point, Providence, RI 02906

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



We sat outside a Shell station; to our front was a clump of trees. It was a real idyllic fall scene along the Merritt Parkway, outside of New Haven, breaths of the crisp air meshed with every hit of the joint. Eventually Eric, my colleague from my program and ride to New York this past weekend, and I would hop back into the car and snack on some bite-sized Baby Ruth’s and Crunch bars that his mom sent him in the mail for Halloween, and head back to school… but it was real nice to have a moment to take in the whole season.

The Cakekitchen Stompin’ Thru the Boneyard (Merge, 1995)

Graeme Jefferies, no stranger to the strange goings-on in New Zealand’s netherworld, formed the oddly named Cakekitchen after his first and only solo album Messages from the Cakekitchen was released in 1987. The Cakekitchen is quite different from his earlier cultic groups This Kind of Punishment and Nocturnal Projections in that they are slightly more conventional, which probably has to do more with the absence of his brother Peter, who had been the primary singer of (and arguably the most influential creative force behind) the aforementioned groups. Stompin’ Thru the Boneyard is not The Cakekitchen’s first album (they had already released a few albums on Homestead in the early 1990’s before the label went kaput), however it is the first album that is performed as a duo (along with drummer Jean-Yves Douet), the first of two albums for Merge (who at the time, along with Ajax and Siltbreeze, were the only labels domestically releasing stuff from the more unmarketable side of kiwi-pop), but more importantly the first album that I had heard from The Cakekitchen. I found this for $3 at Used Kids, and listened to it on my way back home after an early morning class late into Fall Quarter. It was light outside but overcast, windy; the sound of Jefferies’ opening arpeggios mixed in with the whoosh of cars coasting along the slush still lingering from a snowfall a few days earlier, and sounded like something off of Zen Arcade.

Jefferies’ nasal sing-speak is far from exciting, but is not repulsive; simply comfortable and casual. The two-piece formula works well for Jefferies and Douet, as they for the most-part keep their integrity by not beefing up the tapes with extraneous instrumentation to compensate for their newly found thinner profile; instead Stompin’ Thru the Boneyard is kept low-key, occasionally indebted to shoegazer wall-of-sound clichés as on “Even as We Sleep,” but for the most-part the album is almost too painfully careful in construction. The songs sometimes stick around a little too long, but there are some great moments throughout the record that ultimately save it from being boring: the powerful opener “Tell Me Why You Lie,” Jefferies’ astonishing duet with Alastair Galbraith’s piercing violin on “The Mad Clarinet,” and the cascading finale “Another Sad Story,” which is more or less resumed as their epic 10+ minute opener, “The Old Gray Coast,” on their next and last Merge album, The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea.

You can find both of these Merge albums for next-to-nothing online and probably for a couple of bucks at your local used record store, so keep an eye out for them, they are really solid albums that I always go back to every couple of months, and while The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea may be slightly more consistent, I always end up listening to Stompin’ Thru the Boneyard more, as sometimes a great band’s greatest songs sound best when they are in close company to their noble failures.


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of similar interest:
marble stature archives
art for spastics
crud crud
detailed twang
electric pure land
population: doug
static party
terminal boredom
world of wümme
the z gun

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