Time of Orchids

Sarcast While

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A considerably more restrained work than their previous two albums (which were more along the art- noise-metal lines of Mike Patton's Mr. Bungle), Sarcast While is downright pretty at times. Nine-minute centerpiece track "A Man to Hide" even features vocals by Julee Cruise, the high priestess of languid dream pop. Furthermore, the album works as an extended piece, as opposed to the violent tonal shifts found in 2001's Melonwhisper or 2003's Much Too Much Fun. This is not to say that a single mood or sound prevails throughout Sarcast While, merely that the playful high-register harmonies and twiddly Mike Oldfield style guitar lines of "High Enthusiast" move easily into the ghostly, placid stillness of "Depending View," which itself merges almost imperceptibly into the extended, suite-like "Swarm of Hope" through the songs' shared use of Sigur Rós-like falsetto vocals. Fans of Time of Orchids' metal side may find the album disappointingly light on the skronk and shred, with only the brief "Ours Engendered" going for the full-on headbang, but Sarcast While is Time of Orchids' most well-rounded and satisfying album so far.

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