Seriously, A Thousand Charms
“Supergroup” is a term that is tossed around quite frequently in this day and age, and such bands can be hit or miss. But it hits, and dead on, with Celan. Legend has it that guitarist/vocalist Chris Spencer (Cutthroats 9, Unsane) met keyboardist Ari Benjamin Meyers (Redux Orchestra) at a venue in Berlin while the former was on tour. They later picked up Niko Wenner (Oxbow), Phil Roeder and Franz Xaver (both ex- flu.ID) to fill out a band in which seemingly anything goes. This very super group puts forth an incredible debut with Halo.
The album kicks off in earnest with some very creepy children singing, before the thundering post-metal of “A Thousand Charms” knocks you off your feet. “One Minute” comes in like a furious Jesus Lizard, and showcases Spencer’s strangled roar and Roeder’s grinding, in-your-face basslines. The listener gets a slight respite with “Washing Machine,” with its four minutes of minimalist guitars and keyboards, before scaring them out of their shorts (Beethoven style) with the violent, shrieking ups-and-downs of “Train Of Thought.” Finally, the record eases out with the droning, repetitive “Lunchbox,” pushing the limits of the attention span with several minutes of nothing but keyboards swells.
The production of the album is stellar. Every instrument is in its place, and the ensemble sounds clean and tight without sounding sterile. Roeder’s bass is punchy, yet still rumbling underneath the band. Spencer’s vocals are way up front without being a burden, and Meyers’ keyboard work, while quite far in the background, sneaks in at exactly the right moments. Impressively, Halo is simultaneously a “headphone” record AND a “blow up your car speakers” record.
There’s something on this album for everyone, whether you enjoy classical, jazz, metal, electronica, or anything else you can name. If it’s not yet on your shelf, it needs to be.