Say 'Little Rock, Arkansas' to someone and what springs into their mind? Yep: cattle, dust, road apples, cowboys, rednecks, fat sheriffs, sweating babbling mayors, and God only knows what else, but the truth is that the city is home to a wide array of rock and roll bands, and The See may very well find themselves being a PR unit, blazoning the fact that its home burg is host to a lot more than Andy Griffith and Dukes of Hazzard. The ensemble may, in fact, become a vanguard for the area, given the many strengths of this release, Pretending and Ending.
What few of my fellow crits seem to realize is that the next turning point in rock will arise from a polyglot that's still determining what its own final shape will be, that the best bands are now engaged in deciding the manifestation of that presently unguessable milestone, and that, on whole, the 40 year span between the 70s and our present year has spawned a milieu of highly competent, creative, and intelligent artists…much more so than the 70s. I guess it's that last part that irritates them, but it's true nonetheless. And if weren't rue, then we'd have failed in our human duty to forward evolution, so I'm not sure what their friggin' problem is…except the fact that there are a lot of dimwits among 'em. And that's as may be.
The See, however, vindicates my heresy and is a very interesting blend of all that's come before. They combine an ocean of influences with a facility that's deceptive, an acumen lying beneath all the rave-ups, clever vocal elements, constant switching of modes, and semi-anthemic compositions. Amid all that is a healthy dose of noiseuring, morphing counterpoints, deceptive laybacks, and a constant tension of playfulness and vaulting seriousness. Listen to In Hindsight for a really good example, wherein guitarist-singer Joe Yoder comes off very much like Ray Davies at his height, almost chillingly so, especially in the end segment, with the band churning and sighing all around him. So, yeah, think Kinks, but toss in liberal amounts of Radiohead, Mott the Hoople's earliest period, Dramarama, Rain Parade, U2, Tom Petty, Nuclear Valdez, Mission UK, Cactus World News, a lot of progrocking……and, well, Jesus, I could go on for pages.
But it's bands like this that also frustrate me. This CD's really fucking good, and The See has so much company in the ever mushrooming indies that, when the year's end comes, it's goddamned impossible to name just 10, 30, or 50 that were the annum's best. Of course, that's the most enjoyable of all possible frustrations, and I certainly couldn't have suffered from it in the 70s despite all the landmark LPs back then. There just weren't nearly as many top-notch musical clans around. More, the lion's share of the best music in all genres is now inarguably in the independent forums, and ensembles like The See prove this beyond any wisp of a doubt. Thus, get yer shit together and rejoice, o ye grumbling dinosaurs and quit moaning like you think you're an echo of your fathers, 'cause ya actually done good and don't even know it. What comes after will kick your asses, and well it should, but you'll still be what set it into motion. That was your job and you did it well…despite the fact that there are so many idiots amongst ye.
In the end, irony is everything…isn't it?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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