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Catch Without Arms

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Album Review

It makes sense that Terry Date produced Catch Without Arms, Dredg's second record for Interscope. The producer is a veteran of Deftones albums, and it's that band's rich but still rocking palette that's the intent here. And they succeed. Like past Dredg releases Catch has a conceptual flow. But openers "Ode to the Sun" and "Bug Eyes" focus the grandeur and meandering pace of the band's past work around effective melodies and a steadiness in the rhythm. The choruses emphasize the Bono/Chino Moreno in Gavin Hayes' vocal, and when the rhythm drops out for a contemplative piano moment, nothing feels forced because this is what Dredg has been working toward for years. It's not like in the blurry emo world, where string sections crash regularly into soliloquies and it usually just ends up as melodrama. Catch Without Arms looks to groups like Deftones and At the Drive-In, but there's also a tremendous capacity in Dredg for straightforward pop. The title track is a standout, as is "Zebraskin," which with its keyboards and silky beat could be Cousteau or Sweetback. No kidding. And then the churning guitar intro of "Tanbark Is Hot Lava" drops, and you're bewildered again. "Sang Real" features drum processing and treated piano, "Planting Seeds" has the tension/chorus release quality of contemporary Brit-pop, and "Spitshine" has one of the record's strongest melodies. Dredg does lose the thread occasionally. The wandering "Jamais Vu" sounds like a stoned Incubus, complete with undergraduate love letter lyrics. ("I will wait all of this time above you/is that what you wanted?") And the album could've really used more of the band's rocking side, to balance the band's prodigious use of atmosphere. But "Hung Over on a Tuesday" offers just such a blend, and "Not That Simple" opens its chorus with a satisfying distortion crunch that's predictable, but nevertheless irresistible. The influences in Dredg's sound swirl thicker than ghosts above a cemetery. Still, Catch Without Arms works. It focuses the band's exploratory qualities instead of reigning them in completely.

Customer Reviews

A Great Listen Through CD

I'm not sure why people say this CD has a superficial sound. I've just discovered Dredg and I must say that this to me is their best album to date and it continues to get better the more you listen to it. Now now, I know Leitmotif is a huge favorite among Dredg fans but I think this album shows their maturity as artists and each song DOES stand on its own. Very catchy vocally and instrumentally. This album is somewhat a departure from Leitmotif since Leitmotif had a more metal feel to it. Overall, a great CD you can just let play from beginning to end.

Where did Dredg go?

Upon seeing a new dredg release, I was immediately excited. Upon hearing it, dissapointed. It may sound cliche to rag on a band’s latest release, especially when standing it next to a previous work, but let me assure you that I am not one of those who only likes the first album they hear from a band. I think there are bands that only get better with each release, such as Cursive. There are other bands that follow no pattern, or are easily disagreed on which album is best, such as Coheed and Cambria. Many believe that the newest release is the greatest, while others will argue that Second Stage Turbine Blade is the superior work. I happen to like the second release the most. Whether it’s a creative, one-album, slump or the band is suffering popularity growing pains of more exposure (I bought their album at Target, they’re getting out there), Catch Without Arms is much like Dredg without their essence. They are still creating notes, writing parts that interact, and putting out the sound that places them on another level, but the music itself is lacking the mystical quality that makes dredg something worth listening to closely. The guitar vocal melodies have elements of cheesy new rock, the drums sound as if they were dummed down, and the bass seems to have been pushed to the back of the stage and hidden like in every formula hit group that pushes the vocals as the only thing to pay attention to. I happen to like the more-exposed bass work from before, and how it interlaced with the once interesting, tasteful percussion. It just seems as if everything has been dumbed down. I imagine a scenario where a gypsy band in a foreign country was inspired by their surroundings, and was free of limitation or pressure to create what they felt, but one day were picked up by an american and brought here to live and work under stress from the people who funded their travel. They still play the same instruments, and use the same sounds, but once in america, they cannot help but only be influenced, and therefore inspired by the same things that other bands are. The album even seems to lack in overall creativity in comparison to the previous two releases (Leitmotif, their first album, is not sold on iTunes at the time of this post). Simply take a look at the song titles, and it will give you an accurate depiction of the construction of the new album. One can only hope that they will either return to where they began, and regain what originally motivated them, or move on to someplace else and find new inspiration. As long as they get as far away from whatever brought on THIS album as possible.

Brilliant Album From Start To Finish

I know some of Dredg's older fans seem to find something wrong with this album, but I can't hear it. This album has some beautiful and haunting music. I have more listens on this album than anything on my iTunes playlist. For $7.99 this is an absolute steal! Best song on the album is 'Planting Seeds'.


Formed: 1993 in Santa Cruz, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Hailing from Los Gatos, CA, Dredg began sharpening their aggro-metal sound in the early '90s. Comprised of Gavin Hayes (vocals/guitar), Mark Engles (guitar), Drew Roulette (bass), and Dino Campanella (drums), the group was performing in area clubs before they'd even graduated from high school. Dredg self-released the Orph EP in 1997. The ambitious Leitmotif followed two years late, and it was reissued with the band's 2001 signing to Interscope. El Cielo, Dredg's proper Interscope debut, arrived in...
Full Bio
Catch Without Arms, Dredg
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Customer Ratings