I have no trouble expressing my enthusiasm for individual songs in words that usually spill out in a rush. Reviewing albums, on the other hand, isn’t so easy for me. Reviewing albums like this one by Starkweather and Concealment (set for a March 9 release by Translation Loss and available for purchase here) is an especially difficult challenge.
I’m not a musician, and I’m certainly under no delusions that I’m some kind of music critic. I like to think I have a discerning ear, but about all I know how to do is describe the sensations of what I hear, the way the sounds make me feel, and perhaps provide a bit of guidance to readers. And in the case of this massive, labyrinthine split, that somehow seems grossly inadequate.
The fact that this is a split release poses a further challenge: I usually refrain from comparing the music of one band to that of another, even as a short-hand reference point. With any split release, however, it’s very tempting to compare and contrast the two sides. After all, they’re being served up in a single package, and sometimes (but not always) the music of the participating bands has a stylistic, conceptual, or aesthetic connection, i.e., they’re intended to function as integral parts of a unified whole, to provide a single experience rather than separate ones. Here, I haven’t resisted the temptation to compare, as you’ll discover at the end of this very long review.
Yeah, yeah, I hear you thinking, Will you just shut up and get on with it? So I shall.