Release Date: May 3, 2011
Reviewed by Chris Johnston
I’d have loved to be at the studio with these guys while this record was being recorded. I believe the general mantra went something like this: “Let’s abandon what made us popular and get weird.” That’s not to say that Indie outfit Dredg’s latest effort ‘Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy’ is bad. But it is to say that, this is a Dredg you’ve never heard before. The more rock based style is a thing of the past and in its place is what seems to be a more electro-Radiohead-esque feeling. It’s a change that really shines through for part of the record, but unfortunately inhibits some tracks.
The LP opens with “Another Tribe” and right away you know that this is going to be a totally different adventure. It’s a stretch for the band, but what the opener lacks, follow up track “Upon Returning” makes up for. It’s arguably the best song on the record. Vocalist Gavin Hayes really cuts through on this one. If there’s one thing Dredg hasn’t lost, it’s Hayes’ killer pipes. This is no more apparent than in the slow, melodic jam, “Kalathat.” The balance of this track really cuts to the core of why Dredg, no matter how much they evolve, are to be taken seriously as one of modern music’s top underground bands. However, there is good with the bad. Some of this different mix of styles makes some songs fall through the cracks of what could be a completely solid record. “Down Without A Fight” has a more electronic, dubby feel to it, and is way overbearing to a point. The closer, “Before It Began,” makes you feel like you’re watching the credits to a movie. It displays a western-tone and is the perfect way to close this record out.
With its ups and downs, overall Dredg retains their status. Fans of previous releases will obviously love it, seeing as Dredg fans are pretty loyal. But for those considering getting into the band as a new listener, I recommend working your way up to this one.