Sinch - Clearing The Channel Review
Posted by Brandon Ratliff on 04.07.2005
They have a guy that plays the ďocular noise machine.Ē This has got to be the most technical rock band I have ever seen.
Sinch - Clearing The Channel
Release Date: March 22, 2005
Label: Rock Ridge Music
First Single: All Thatís Left Behind
Recommended Downloads: The Power Of Suggestion, Identity Theft, All Thatís Left Behind
Vocals: Jamie Stem
Guitar/Sound Design: Tony Lannutti
Bass/Wurlitzer: Mike Abramson
Drums:/Percussion: Dan McFarland
Ocular Noise Machine: Jay Smith
What the fuck is an ocular noise machine? You may be asking yourself this right now, because, for as long as I have been into Sinch (about 3 years), I still havenít figured that out. I am guessing it is some sort of synth machine of some sort, but I honestly donít know. But about the band, I have been into them since about late 2002. I honestly donít know where I heard of them from, but since their last record was put out on Roadrunner Records, thatís where I am figuring it was. Anyhow, I remember hearing them once, and I kinda forgot about them back then. Then a friend of mine had the CD and recommended it, so I burned it, and I went and bought it like a week later. This was great stuff. Eventually I kind of forgot about them, and I would check out their website every so often, but thatís about it. Then, something crazy happened. The band left Roadrunner. They werenít dropped, they left. Why? Canít seem to figure that out either (some good I am). But, a new label (which I think is their own), and thatís about it. The music on this album isnít all that different, but itís more technical that before. Read onÖ
Well, they kind of kept quiet about this album until they had a name and an approximate release date late last year. Of course, they arenít a huge band (sadly), but they still kept the lid on this pretty well. I remember them releasing a demo song they recorded back in 2003 for free on their website, but thatís about it. Oh yeah, they did release a slightly different version of ďIdentity TheftĒ last year sometime as well, but thatís actually about it. But the sound is what you wanna know right? Well, Sinch are a rock band. They are aggressive at points, subtle at others, but always detailed. The band is very technical about their music (damn that ocular noise machine), choosing to go with single noted complex rock riffing more often than their power-chord laden peers. But make no mistake; Sinch is a very unique band. There is not a single other band out there that sounds like Sinch. Some may try, but they will never do it as well as Sinch does. But does this album continue the tradition that started on what seems to be their ghostly first album (I canít even find record of itís existence)? Or does Clearing The Channel continue to clear your mind of any other music as well? Bad puns aside, letís take a look shall we?
Silence Broken: Considering it has been three years since their last album, this name is ironically (though probably purposefully) funny. It starts out sounding like someone flipping through channels, but the channels sound weird. Basically like all of them are the same, but different. Youíd have to hear it. But that, folks, is foreshadowing for the album itself. The album is something that will seem familiar (not just to Sinch fans), but different. Itís unique, as I said before. This song really sets the pace for the album, because although usually one of the hardest songs on a rock album is usually the first, this is different. The thing is though, it just seems to fit in its opening slot. You just feel it you know? AnywaysÖnextÖ
All Thatís Left Behind: I say this every review, but this is the first single off of the album. It has the single type stuff of memorable lyrics, well written music, and it is very demonstrative of the album as a whole. Wait, you say thatís not how a single works? A single is the song that will sell the most records? What? Who the fuck came up with that dumb-assed idea? Anyways, like I said this song is about the best one to get a feeling of the album as a whole, and a good choice for that. Iíd also like to say a quick thanks to Horvath for reviewing this one. Hopefully between that, featuring them as my Band Of The Week, and this review, people will actually listen to Sinch. God knows they deserve it. Anyways, onto the next track now.
Identity Theft: This was the second track the band released off this album. I canít remember if they said it was from an upcoming album or not, but I believe it was about March of last year that they released it. I donít think they said anything about it being from a new album, if I remember correctly all they really said was that it was a new song they recorded. The version on the album is VERY SLIGHTLY different, but for the most part itís the same song. And it is also one of the better songs on a great album. Maybe thatís because Iíve been hearing it a lot longer though. I donít know.
The Last Scene: This track has some interesting lyrics on it. I would type them out, but I donít want to sit there and listen for every word since the lyrics arenít in the liner notes. But it has something about acting, and Hollywoodís collapse. Thereís a lot more to it than that, but thatís part of it. Good song though. One of the more straight out rock songs on the album.
Dead Sentinels: Like the name, this is an odd track. The lyrics are rather disturbing, and the musicians once again put great music to it. This one focuses more on precision and subtleties than the previous track, but it is also much more haunting.
Sails: This all acoustic track shows something this band can do thatÖyouíd probably expect that they could. Thatís not saying anything bad about them, but once again youíd know they could do an acoustic track well (like they did) if they wanted.
Vanishing Act: This track is basically entirely like ambient noise. Basically if youíve heard the ends of either Fear Factoryís ďArchetypeĒ or ďObsoleteĒ youíll know what I mean. Itís usually an odd spot to put it right in the middle, but strangely enough, it seems to fit well. Can this band do no wrong?
The Power Of Suggestion: Well, with that track, the answer to that would be a resounding ďno.Ē Remember that song they recorded and released in 2003? This is itÖsorta. This basically is it to the extent that it has most of the same lyrics and the same music. The intro has greatly changed though, along with the bridge, and the first part of the first chorus. But, despite all that, and the fact that I loved the original version for quite a while (though not as much as this one, they redid this one much better), this is definitely the best track on the album. Lyrically (it takes a huge swipe at the Clear Channel and the record industry as a whole), musically, and everything else-ily. Nuff said.
What They Mean When They Say: This is probably the most memorable song on the album. I think what makes it stand out is its chorus. It is something that wills stick in your mind for a while. Not nessesarily the words (since you canít really understand much more than the title), but the harmonies of the chorus. Youíll probably be humming it for a while (unless you are me and obsessed with The Power Of Suggestion)
One In The Same: Starting out very softly, this track ends up being about the hardest song on this record. It just kinda comes when the chorus hits. Once again taking what is a less apparent swipe at the record industry, this one discusses more the bands that just copy others (basically any of this ďindieĒ rock bullshit out there) instead of crafting their own music. If you listen closely, there are actually some references to specific bands (ďBait the trap for the little mouse, and get the killer out of your houseĒ)
Hydroplane: Well, as uncool as it is to hydroplane in your car, this song shows another levels of Sinch. It is something of a slow song, all acoustic, but mostly driven by the piano line in the song, along with a computer generated (itís that fucking ocular noise machine I tell you) backing part. Great way to end the album. The song seems split up by two ďacts,Ē as the second one doesnít have the synth part, but it has a bass line there instead. Good stuff.
Well, I apologize for the seemingly shitty breakdown of the songs, but this band is so simple, yet so complex, that no words can describe the art that comes out of your speakers when this music plays. Itís something palpable, but elusive. Obvious but evasive. This album is everything you could want from a straight rock album, but it will fulfill nothing if all you listen to is rehashed radio rock. It takes a special kind of person to truly appreciate Sinch, but anyone can enjoy it. I know I sound like I am going in circles, but if you think this is bad, try to understand this record for everything it fully means. You canít take it at face value, nor will you ever see everything that is going on with it. You want to know what I am talking about? Check out this album. Youíll know what I mean.
Well, not too much hard or heavy here, but DO keep on rocking. Iím outty.
The 411: A more subtle rock band that will throw you for a loop if you take everything at face value. This is music as an art in one of itís purest forms. For returning Sinch fans, this album goes beyond the self-titled in every way. Go buy it now.