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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: Conveyor - "Conveyor"


Conveyor - Conveyor
Label: Paper Garden Records
Release Date: July 17th, 2012



Every review I’ve read concerning the debut LP from Brooklyn’s Conveyor has been preoccupied with trying to fulfill the music journalist trope of comparison.  Conveyor sounds like blank mixed with blank.  In some instances critics have cited their influences as being too heavy handed, calling them too similar to Animal Collective; others have praised them for being the next Animal Collective.  Conveyor is not Animal Collective.  I hear the moments of similarity on their debut LP that these critics are sticking on, but it’s a single eyelash and not the entire eye.  For me, if I were forced to play the dumb and unnecessary comparison game, I would say Conveyor is a mix of the quirkiness found on Weezer’s Blue Album, yes Animal Collective’s harmonies and world beats, Pavement’s lyrical playfulness, and many more influences.  But every band/artist has their influences.  I’m not as concerned with pointing them out, as I am with understanding how these influences work to make them their own band.  Simply put, Conveyor is Conveyor and they’ve crafted one of the more exciting and unique records of 2012.

Conveyor’s greatest strength on their debut is how they approach the idea of an album as a whole.  Sure, there are several great individual singles, but this record needs to be experienced in its totality.  The band is either extremely gutsy or extremely crazy – either way, they throw caution to the wind as they seamlessly transition from electronic supported rock songs to folk to minimalism to ambient to bombastic harmony laden crowd pleasers.  As genres go, the band is all over the place, which makes single comparisons to other bands such a headscratcher.  I really can’t name another band that scrapes together moments of punk and screaming only to shortly thereafter have a few high guitars blend together and bounce around in a bizarrely soft moment of experimental nodding like Conveyor does on “Two Davids.”  The album is threaded together like a perfect 90s mix tape.  It starts with three lush songs, then settles into ambience, and then comes full circle, closing just as it all began.  The greatest disservice any listener could pay to this album is to jump around, choose your own adventure-style.  The band clearly put a lot of thought into every transition and the emotional journey the listener will take, ultimately making it an album’s album, one that is enriched by the vinyl experience of being locked into a groove, bound to each corresponding side of wax, the journey played out in full. 

If the debut LP from Conveyor has taught me anything about this exciting up and coming band, it’s that this group of guys are not afraid of exposing themselves as artists.  At times they come across as geeky, humorous, fragile…basically flawed humans (not musicians) as we all are.  It’s refreshing to see this type of honesty in an art form that is driven by context based on the essence of “indie cool.” And all of this from a band out of Brooklyn, the mecca of fitting a certain image, but not fitting the image, trying so hard to be unique that you end up as one of the same.  Conveyor has a firm grasp on letting go.  Any apprehensions about singing incredibly high, dropping very low, doing weird sound effect clicks with their mouth, joking around, taking a million chances that could have turned out horrible, using a banjo on a rock record, etc…they allow themselves to do what they think is right in regards to their art.  I think that’s the coolest thing a band can do.

The more I think about a unique band like Conveyor being criticized or pigeonholed, the angrier I get.  My keys are taking on the majority of this aggression as I type this review, but a level of comfort comes from knowing that no matter how much the blogosphere tries to funnel easy writing clich├ęs and pass them off as band indicators, the truth will be immortalized in the only document that truly matters, the album itself.  The debut LP from Conveyor is a bold first offering that shows a band artistically naked, presenting themselves and their thoughts unedited, with no creative boundaries.  The result is a musical adventure filled with wonderment guided by a band that stands alone as themselves, not a shadow of others.  

2 comments:

Steve says:
at: August 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM said...

I suppose I'm biased, having had the privilege of both meeting them and hearing their music for the first time on a great Louisville night. But I enjoyed both experiences beyond expectations, and thus look forward to Conveyor's continued success. And with reviews like this one, I'd echo that sentiment for WLFY itself. Rock on, Zach.

Mathew Lewis says:
at: August 15, 2012 at 10:19 AM said...

Wow, you have just introduced me to a new great band, I love how unpredictable the music is yet still so fluid. You can hear mix influences that they seem to mould into their own style, awesome, I'd love to catch them live, think it would be a wonderful and interesting experience!
Thanks!

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