Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review - CARBON DATING SERVICE - Self -Titled

Self-titled
Carbon Dating Service
Teargas Recording Tree
7-out-of-10
There are bands and CDs which are immediately intriguing for a variety of reasons, for me Carbon Dating Service was one of those bands, probably starting with their chosen name. You have to admit it's a unique one, especially for a band out of Saskatoon, SK.
When the CD arrived the artwork shows a huge blue whale, not exactly a Saskatchewan image, and a quick perusal of the song list showed efforts with names such as Dragged for Ten Miles by a Harpooned Whale, Robots in Rome (Electrons Escaped), Dead Dogs Love Us Still, Slow Motion Unicorns and Mushrooms On Your Lawn.
By this time I had no idea what to expect.
So, I headed to the band's website, where I found out this is an eight piece group. I thought wow, is anybody playing with a band roster that big these days. Most gigs would leave an eight-member band playing for darn little money per member. Then I looked at the instrumentation this band throws into the mix, harp, horns, viola, steel drum, banjo and dobro.
If that all sounds cluttered, it's really not. Carbon Dating Service goes out of its way to create intricate musical efforts, which expand the usual vision of rock music. Does it always work? Nope, but for the most part they do create music that has a more big band, at times sort of classical feel, set over rock/pop roots, and it works.
There is a horn section focus at the end of Gift Horse that is such a refreshing breath for modern pop/rock, that you can't help but like what these guys are trying to accomplish.
They come back with Drunk Company which has a near country lead in.
Now my wife who was listening to this CD as I reviewed it, was not a fan. She would have admittedly turned it off three songs in. A friend was here at the same time, and she was not a fan either. They both saw the music as somewhat distracting. The friend pointed out she could not read to the music since it was always throwing some new instrumentation at her.
That though is the point for this band I believe. They want the listener's ear focused on the music, to catch just how they push the genre with the range of instruments at there disposal. In fact, for the most part lyrics and vocals are minimalist here too, letting the music take the listener.
I would love to see these guys in the Anne Portnuff Theatre where great acoustics would allow Carbon Dating Service to perform to its full potential.
Check them out at http://teargasrecordingtree.com/artists/carbondatingservice/
Wild, different, unique, strange, and for all of that well worth a listen.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
- Reviews first appeared Yorkton This Week newspaper April 25, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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