Ten long years and multiple records to show for it is something that Caretaker takes pride in but also understands that the journey is far from over. The brand new split with Undersmile has been getting press from every corner of the globe and after getting to listen to it myself, I can understand why. With Caretaker delivering two solid tracks on this record, it makes me want to go back and listen to everything I have from these guys. The first side of the split gives you this very melodic but chaotic structure filled with explosions of progressive/hardcore riffs yet not so much hardcore that you forget that Caretaker is taking care of you very well with a full on buffet of magical, organic sections.
On the other side, you still get this sense of somewhat unrehearsed and raw feel that Caretaker has always provided with past records. With a track such as “The Inexorable March”, you begin to think that Caretaker might actually be burying you alive with shovels of dirt, throwing rocks at your face as they shatter your jaw and soothing your cold body with downright glorious build ups to the later part of the track. It’s very similar to being trapped in a vortex of actually sludge (not the genre) and human remains. As much as you might dislike the taste and smells that are surfacing around you, you can’t seem to shake the real root of the problem that has been giving you chills and the feel of eruption inside your pants. That problem, if you even want to call it that, is Caretaker taking care of what needs to be done and what needs to be done is having some killer tunes in the perfect order shoved down your throat until you swallow every last drop.
The other track, “Yeehaw!”, is something totally different than the second track. It’s pretty much an instrumental that bares all of it’s bones but still has meat with thick fur. Let’s just say that if “Yeehaw!” is a choke slam, that makes “The Inexorable March” the piledriver this side of the split. It’s just homegrown, let’s not give a shit about anything and have fun, music and Caretaker is finally being shown the love that they’ve deserved since the beginning. The first side of the split is what I like to hear from a progressive/hardcore outfit but it’s also what I like to hear to get me ready for the next side of this massive split.
Welcome to the doom/sludge side of this split! If you look to your left, you’ll see the mirrors of death and corruption but if you look over in that tiny little corner to the right, you’ll be presented with a mystery box. What’s inside the mystery box is for you to find out but make sure you open it slowly and be grateful for what you may receive. Trust me when I tell you that the tiny box you just received and hold inside your hands is the most powerful piece of art that the world has ever seen. What do we call it? One word – Undersmile. Coming off of a debut EP that shock the world of doom and sludge music, the folks in Undersmile are back to please the fans that they’ve had since day one with two monstrous tracks.
“The Big Wow”, the first track on this side of the split, really does set the listener up for a more out-of-the-box experience rather than a fully fledged doomtastic overhaul of a ride. At first glance, you may think of “The Big Wow” as a robot that can’t speak or move but as you watch this robot over the days, you learn that in the middle of the night he reigns over everything in the house. Building bridges so other small creatures can cross and setting up shops underneath your couch so that hopefully one day they can carry out the plot to kill you. Undersmile may not be that robot but this side of the split is most definitely just like that, in all the positive ways possible. With riffs that are just as heavy as anything else I’ve ever heard, I was very pleased to hear that Undersmile didn’t stray from the path of the impression that was left on me via “A Sea of Dead Snakes”.
On the other side of the note, “Anchor”, the second song on this side of the split really does give you this vibration feel that shakes the floor below you with the bass lines that Olly provides as Hel and Taz just rip your insides apart by chewing at your inner organs. Also, the sections that Tom has on drums, can we say spot on and classic? Tom, from beginning to end, really does show his skill and pure energy on this split to the point that my chin dropped several times and the bottom row of my teeth fell out. As always, Undersmile delivers pure energy but with a pinch of voodoo and spell casting vibes that I’m completely okay with, just as long as I don’t wake up with a small head or smaller limbs.
Given the fact that both of these bands have hit me as heavy hitters in the past and still seem to bring the heat with this split, I can’t really say that one band outshines the other at the end of the day. It’s pure bliss to have these two projects together and if I could have three wishes from a funny looking blue guy, I would have to say that I want these two bands to work together again in the future. Hats off to Caretaker and Undersmile for being who you are and not sacrificing anything to please certain people.
Listen to “The Inexorable March” below:
Listen to “Big Wow” below:
Undersmile: Official Facebook. Official Website. Official Myspace. Official Bandcamp. Buy their shit here. Caretaker: Official Myspace. Official Facebook. Official Bandcamp. Official Last.fm. Official Website. Buy their shit here. Pre-order the record here.