Label: Asthmatic Kitty
You can pick bits and pieces of Cryptacize that you like but it’s hard to really get into this band, mostly because Cryptacize plot a very and rigid narrow musical course for their tight-knit group. Their sound isn’t full bodied enough to adapt to big changes in arrangements; too often the band sounds like a more melodic Beat Happening without the added pathos and with too much emphasis on jazz-guitar-driven dream pop.
The title track of their second release Mythomania illustrates this to a fault. Singer Nedelle Torrisi begins the song with a beautiful lullaby progression, with a gentle Les Paul strum backing her, but it’s quickly scrapped for a less interesting series of dueling guitar parts and a chorus that deviates from those promising ideas spelled out in the first 30 seconds or so. And that’s exactly the problem: this album is defined by the wrong turns the band makes instead of the handful of good ideas and intentions that actually pan out.
“What You Can’t See” uses the famous Marks and Simons standard “All of Me” as a reference point, but co-lead singer and guitarist Chris Cohen takes over the vocals with a dry croon that doesn’t quite make the transition to floating and can’t match up to Torrisi’s efforts. “New Spell” fairs a lot better, sustaining the band’s ideas longer and with more concentration; stretching Torrisi’s singing while the guitars meld into a fine mesh instead of being layered one part on top of the other. “Blue Tears,” with its “Age of Aquarius” riff, nearly gets to the same high but comes up short about half way through and coasts off its own fumes.
Let’s make something clear: this isn’t awful music, but it is very hard to recommend a record that succeeds in a piecemeal way. The concluding riff of “Got To Get Into That Feeling” is great, but most of the music leading there is forgettable. Many of these songs either begin or end well but with noticeable trouble in the middle, employing a rhythm section that’s hardly there and tapioca lyrics. A lot of the protein needed to sustain songs comes off as bland nourishment; too often the album sounds like a collection of demos for a bigger album. Maybe this comes from a music-weary perspective, but so much about Cryptacize screams out “opening band” on Mythomania. The name of the record itself is defined as a condition where one chronically exaggerates the truth. Ironically, Cryptacize may benefit from more exaggeration to the soggy fidelity of the approach utilized here.
by Neal Fersko