Snowing Sun CD - Monitor

When crossing the sound of Uzeda’s blaring noise rock with that of Don Caballero’s ultra-precise math rock, one might expect a certain type of sound. Bellini, featuring two members of Uzeda and, even more noticeably, the former drummer of Don Caballero, sounds exactly as one might guess: atonal, difficult, angular and brilliantly orchestrated. The drum work is as technical and original as one would expect from Che, the former king of impossible, time-change laden math drumming. Beats shift in and out of the squawking, blaring mess of guitars and operatic female, at times almost seeming to bare no relation to the song actually being played. It’s a technical tour de force on par with the chops of Don Caballero at their best. But it lacks the cohesion and unity of Caballero’s work, and becomes a soulless, music-school exercise. Always, the music seems more concerned with defying expectations than with pleasing the listener or even giving them something memorable to latch onto. The drums are completely at odds with the waves of dissonance pouring forth on the guitar side of the album. One can almost hear the two sides of the band, former Uzeda members guitarist Agostina Tilotta and vocalist Giovanna Cacciola on one side and Che on the other, duking it out musically, as if the space of each song were a battle and each side wanted to stake their flag in it as claimed territory. It’s hardly surprising, then, to learn that Che left the band in an ill-tempered fit at a show in New Orleans recently. Apparently the battlefield had come to encompass more than the songs, as the band is rumored to have separated into two camps and essentially ignored each other while on tour. The album leaves a fitting, if sad, musical record of the two group’s encounter, and while Che’s impossible drumming definitively won the musical war, it’s the listeners that have lost by being subjected to this cold, despairingly technical record that could have been so much more. (Peter Suderman)



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