THE(E) SPEAKING CANARIES (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Joy of Wine (Mind Cure) 1993
Songs for the Terrestrially Challenged (Mind Cure) 1995 (Scat) 1995
Like-Like Homes (Scat) 1998
If you've been staying up late wondering when the indie scene would spawn its own Joe Satriani, Damon Che (Fitzgerald) is the man to no value judgment intended give you a good night's sleep. Che, who spends part of his time manning the drums in Pittsburgh prog-punk instrumental trio Don Caballero, uses his other trio as a conduit for technique-obsessed, sporadically riveting guitar explorations not to mention an unhealthy fixation on the oeuvre of (no, really) Eddie Van Halen.
On its debut, The(e) Speaking Canaries demonstrates a reasonable fluency in free-form freakouts that owe a fair amount to psychedelic brethren like Crystalized Movements, but the compound fractures in both recording quality and compositional consummation result in a half-baked effort. The sprawling Songs for the Terrestrially Challenged, however, boasts some emphatically mesmerizing moments: Che unskeins some of the more fetching controlled feedback explorations you're likely to hear, especially "Summer's Empty Resolution" and the Middle Eastern-tinged "Famous No Space." When he and comrades Karl Hendricks (the singer/guitarist of the trio that bears his name plays bass here) and Noah Leger (also the drummer in Hurl) coalesce, they project a mightily fuzzy roar that could be called garage-rock providing the garage in question is scaled to house an aircraft carrier. But when they resort to Van Halen covers as they do twice on the album you'll think you're in Hades' first Ground Round lounge. The album was recorded twice with little variation in repertoire: Scat's is the standard one, while the Mind Cure edition offers the same material in impenetrable lo-fi.[David Sprague]
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