Volcano the Bear

The Shy Volcanic Society at the Bear and Bird Parade

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The title of this album is an amalgamation of two bands' names: Volcano the Bear and La Société des Timides à la Parade des Oiseaux (the name of this French outfit translates to "The Shy Society at the Bird Parade," which explains the CD's title). However, the bands don't actually intermingle, as The Shy Volcanic Society is a split-CD, not a collaboration. Pairing these two experimental groups on a single release is a bit awkward but not too far stretched. They are both important horses in Beta-lactam Ring Records' stables, and, although different in sound and approach, they probably have compatible audiences. Volcano the Bear are up first for five tracks (a little less than 30 minutes of music), and they are in fine shape, playing mock-ritualistic experimental folk-cum-musique concrète, featuring lots of flutes (recorders and pan flutes), among other things. The music is noisy, wobbly, and chaotic, held together only by the community of artistic vision formed by Clarence Manuelo, Aaron Moore, Nick Mott, and Daniel Padden. La STPO (tracks six-nine, about 30 minutes) share this experimental side, along with a certain degree of indeterminacy, but whereas Volcano the Bear is basically a folk/improv band, La STPO is rooted in avant-rock, with written-down compositions, big riffs (Benoît Delaune on bass, with a zeuhl-sized sound), RIO leanings, and a grunting vocalist reminiscent of both Adrien Kessler (of Goz of Kermeur fame) and Eugene Robinson (of Oxbow). The French band delivers a set somewhat freer than their average. Neither band turned in stellar material for this split release, but the CD offers a representative taste of both, and fans of either will want this item.

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