Pseudosix – Days of Delay

Days of Delay

Heh … So I got excited when I saw that the 54-40 or Fight mailing address is in Michigan. Thankfully, though, I did some research on the band, because my initial review was gonna refer to them as ‘local’ to me, which doesn’t exactly work since these three lads hail from Portland, Oregon. Turns out that drummer Joe Kelly used to play with 31knots, while Emil Amos fronts Holy Sons. Tim Perry … Well, Tim just does most of the singing and writing for this here Pseudosix project.
… So, Pseudosix is some pretty happenin’ stuff, actually. It’s really, really, really low-key, with most of the songs having a general base of a laid-back guitar part, minimalistic drumming, very sparse bass playing, and deliberately hushed vocals. The guitars work wonders through their restraint, as a majority of the songs on Days of Delay generally carry more than one guitar part at a time. The stark nature of these songs leaves a lot of room in the mix for the guitar parts to resonate, and the result is generally that two simple rhythm parts blend into one very ornate guitar sound.
Over the course of these 14 songs, Pseudosix defines itself as a modern slice of Americana (otherwise best described as modern garage-folk). Admittedly, this is a sound that very much relies on the strength of the material being played, and that fact alone makes Days of Delay a bit of a mixed bag. The CD’s openers, “Hollow Abyss (Introduction)” and “Crooked Carousel,” both have a decent sound to them, but they still wind up fading off into the distance as background music. It’s not until about 50 seconds into the third track, “Center, Empty Circle,” that the band starts to impress, when a sweet two-guitar piece that runs for about half-a-minute really begins to show exactly what sort of dark beauty this band is capable of.
The folk-blues ballad “Hazardous Movements” is pleasantly reminiscent of Neil Young’s acoustic days in the 70s, although “Madness” seems too long and droning – even at only three-and-a-half minutes. The hushed “Hey Revenge” (think Elliott Smith) relies on a really sparse and delicate acoustic guitar rhythm to garner attention; by the time the second voice and guitar seep into the mix, they’re just icing on an already tasty treat. “You Started Something” is very 60s pop-sounding thanks to the ‘echoed’ vocals on the opening and neat little keyboard line (though the “Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Dooooo” vocals certainly add a lot to that observation, as well). “Love and Logic” thrives courtesy of the swagger offered by the second rhythm guitar that pops up about a minute into the track, and “Chasing You Down” is an incredible five minutes of plaintive, lo-fi folk meandering. The band even flashes a little country attitude on “Run Rebel,” a track that features some fine guitar work.
Pseudosix’s two finest moments, however, are on the disc’s two slightly bitter straight-up folk songs, “Bound to Unfold” and “Put Your Back to the Sun.” “Bound to Unfold” is the more subtle of the two songs, as lyrically, it seems to speak through the eyes of someone disillusioned by the concept of living life through pre-defined societal rules (“It’s bound to unfold like I told you before / I’m not gonna wait for their cues anymore / I’m not angry at all / Just incredibly bored”). The guitar is so sparse and simple that the intonations of Perry’s voice carry a lot of emotional value, and even his meek vocal stylings manage to shoot daggers with, “I’m on the cusp of some very good things / I don’t like your jokes and I don’t like your apathy / None of that weight is of value to me.” “Put Your Back to the Sun,” however, is a bit more blatantly antagonistic (“I only started running ’cause they told me to walk … Stand where you stand / I doubt I’ll ever face the same direction as you”), though it carries the same quiet, subuded musical weight as “Bound to Unfold.”
All in all, while Days of Delay is a bit inconsistent, the whole garage-folk concept is really something that works well. I mean, hell, who doesn’t like the idea of locking Simon and Garfunkel in a garage with Lou Barlow and a bunch of recording equipment? My personal opinion may be that the pair of angry two-minute folk numbers are the best tracks here, but don’t let that dissuade anyone from experiencing this very interesting album in full. This band’s next disc should be a doozy, indeed. Recommended for the Americana/folk crowds.