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What It Is

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Album Review

While just a basic trio, Cordelia's Dad compose a far greater and larger sound than imagined, moving from the early alternative rock of the '90s Seattle scene with a tablespoon of jazz and R.E.M. traces on "Upswing," a moody and winding track. "Inhaler" recalls Canadian cult rockers the Tragically Hip, a mix of jazz ideas on a slow tension-building arrangement. Lead songwriter Tim Eriksen has a downbeat vocal ability, like Dave Matthews and Michael Stipe, particularly on the somber and melancholic "Eyelovemusic." A number of the jazz touches have a Middle Eastern or Indian element to them, exemplified especially on "Five Way Flashlight." But the album's greatest asset is its ability to move through different ideas, none more so than the hymnal and gorgeous "Despair," which resembles mountain music. The highlight track would definitely be the stellar "Rock Me (To Sleep)," characterized by a deliberate hard rock and beefy rhythm like Led Zeppelin or even Creed. The quality of the music, though, can't be defined, and the group displays a Ralph Stanley style on the final "Brethren Sing." This is a definitive album that is not easy to define.


Formed: 1987

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Although Cordelia's Dad started as a standard punk-influenced guitar-bass-drums rock band, their repertoire from the beginning has consisted entirely of traditional American folk tunes. Although the electric instrumentation became less pronounced in their music after their first few albums, Cordelia's Dad have remained known for both their intensity and playfulness. This element is particularly evident on-stage, where lead singer Tim Eriksen will spin humorous stream-of-consciousness stories between...
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What It Is, Cordelia's Dad
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