I haven’t posted a new review in about a month, but trust me it was NOT by choice. I’ve been without a computer for the entire time, which the first week or two was kind of relaxing, but after that it was anything but. I finally got the damn thing back and the first thing I promised I’d do is write this review, which was originally supposed to be written for August 27th. I don’t even have my computer back to the way it was yet but this review on jam band Craang‘s album To The Estimated Size Of The Universe is getting done!
When I reviewed Wo Fat, another jam band, a little while ago I may not have given the friendliest of reviews. I gave it a good rating because the music itself was good, but the jams seemed pointless. I mentioned how seeing such bands live is a great experience, typically the shows are one of a kind, but putting such performances on album just isn’t right.
Well for Craang, the entire first almost eight minute long song is just a jam, actually called Slo Forward Jam, with no singing. It is a slow “stoner rock” song with some good moments and serious badassery throughout, and the band does seem to really feel each other well, but 7:55 is too long to be anything more than background music.
The second track Butterfly is where guitarist/vocalist Manos reveals his singing voice, and I like it. Two minutes in to the song I forget about Slo Forward Jam. The singing doesn’t take the foreground enough though, as the music behind it is louder, surely to focus on the bands main focus, which is unfortunate. The following track Magnolia has singing to it, but it is more a jam. The further in to the song you get, the more you forget there actually was singing at the beginning. The jam however is actually a bit more entertaining than Slo Forward Jam.
The last track, The Meteorian, is over fifteen minutes. The first time I saw that, all I could think was “uh oh.” Just like the previous three songs, Craang goes for a slow stoner rock sound, which is pretty quintessential for a jam band, but just like almost every song on To The Estimated Size Of The Universe, it is the reason why the song kind of drags. I do really enjoy six minutes in to the song, I mean all of the songs have had some pretty good moments, but they get forgotten in the fold. Six minutes in to The Meteorian is a perfect example of where I think the band could have broken the song down in to maybe four separate regular length songs that would have sounded great. Oh, and did I mention that in the entire fifteen minutes, there is no singing?
I still believe that a jam band should keep their namesake for live shows, but when recording albums they should record actual songs and leave the jamming to their performances. I’d love to see Craang perform every song on To The Estimated Size of the Universe live, I guarantee I’d enjoy the hell out of it, however listening to these long jams on album with only a few good moments per song that I quickly forget about afterward just makes the album mostly background music, nothing that can keep attention for long periods of time.
“Butterfly” – The easy choice. The song that actually has singing, and a lot of it, and actually doesn’t drag on at all. Each time I listen to it I find something else I like about it, and I’m surprised at how it feels like it goes by quicker than nine minutes.
6 (Out of 10)
|1.||Slo Forward Jam 07:54|
|4.||The Meteorian 15:22|