REVIEW - C.Ross - 'Skull Creator' (Album - Echodelick Records - Noise Agony Mayhem Records)
A stalwart of the Toronto underground scene for a fair few years, Chad Ross has been purveying a heavy, psychedelic, cosmic sound with the likes of Deadly Snakes, Quest For Fire and currently Comet Control. His new solo album - released in July under the name of C.Ross - 'Skull Creator' - breaks away from the full-on band sound of these outfits and presents a (mostly) languid, serene, ultimately gorgeous record, acoustic based in nature with a backdrop of mellotron, synths, guitar effects and pedal steel that conjures up an album of pastoral, misty atmospheres with the sun setting and the moon rising (and vice-versa) in its eight long-ish songs. Expertly backed by Joshua Wells (Lightning Dust / Destroyer / Black Mountain) on drums and keyboards, Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless / Golden Void / The Black Crowes) on guitar and slide guitar and Aaron Goldstein on pedal steel, and recorded at Dan Bejar's (Destroyer) Vancouver studio, 'Skull Creator' lets you 'turn off the world' for its forty-four minutes and luxuriate in its lovely mix of psych, neo-folk and americana.
The languid guitar intro of album opener 'Buzzin In The Bush' sets the tone for the record, its hypnotic themes reminiscent a little of Chris Robinson's Brotherhood and expertly mixing Chad's psychedelic leanings with a folky based background. 'Taking A Dip' and 'The Stranger' are pastoral delights - recalling Steve Gunn's finer moments - their acoustic finger-picking coming with haunting vocals and a mellotron flecked backdrop. 'On Golden Pond' takes the naturalistic scenarios a step further adding chirping crickets and hooting owls to another beguiling melody. 'Wrong Side Of The Sky' and 'Tracks In The Snow' add pedal steel to give them a 'dusty' flavour bringing to mind a little bit of Calexico, while the title track brings a touch of menace to the acoustic reveries with its brooding, atmospheric melange of guitar effects and synth work hovering in the background. Only on 'Way Too Nice' is the spell broken with a tune containing rattling drums and bursts of edgy guitar on the album's shortest track, clocking in at 4:21. It's nevertheless another excellent song.
'Skull Creator' is a fantastic record, perfect for the coming autumnal evenings and fading summer days. Lush, haunting, atmospheric and contemplative, 'Skull Creator' opts for quietness over the noise and commotion of modern life in eight beautiful tracks - you'd be a fool not to visit it once in a while!
'Skull Creator' is available on all the major digital sites. Limited edition vinyl and cassette versions are available from the Echodelick Records bandcamp site - www.echodelickrecords.bandcamp.com