Caddywhompus, Remainder

Caddywhompus, Remainder

It had to happen, honestly; with guitarist/vocalist Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart’s previous “main band,” The Riff Tiffs, apparently going the way of the dodo, what started out as a side project to occupy time while away at college has morphed into a real-deal band, in the process drawing in some of the old Riff Tiffs sound.

Not that that’s a bad thing, mind, but it pulls Caddywhompus further down the slide toward all-out psych-rock, something I’d been a little wary of seeing. To the band’s credit, though, they still manage to inhabit some kind of middle ground.

The songs on Remainder are sneaky, devious bastards, at first lulling you into thinking that they’ll follow at least some sort of standard structure, maybe even resembling the whole verse-chorus-verse-chorus-break thing…and then somebody dumps gasoline on the fire, and everything explodes.

Take “At Bay,” for one — the song starts off sounding like a noisier, messier Stills, if that band were spending all its time these days dropping acid with the dudes from Animal Collective. The melody’s addictive and gorgeous, the drums pound steadily, the guitars (or what I think are guitars, but we’ll get back to that) rise and fall nicely, and Rehm’s voice has this great sense of yearning to it.

Then at 1:33, the whole thing implodes into a prog-metal jam, with stop-start drums and complex, finger-breaking guitar riffing. After that, it shifts sort of back to noisy indie-pop skyrocket it was before, throwing in another high-flying chorus, but then that chorus fucking melts into this massive wall of melodic noise that’s like the music of the freaking Sun as it blazes away up in the sky. All of which is to say, by the by, that it’s absolutely mind-blowing and cool — just not what you think you’re getting when the song starts.

A lot of the songs here follow similar tracks, as well. Opener “Let The Water Hit The Floor” — which makes me grin for its thoughtful juxtaposition of the watery human body with a godawful Drowning Pool song — kicks in with synth-sounding guitar craziness, ferocious and frantic, yet with surprisingly serene (mostly, anyway) vocals, but then it sidesteps halfway through into something akin to a Sigur Rós track, all echoey, distant vocals and washes of formless, melody-heavy sound.

Musically, the tracks on Remainder see Hart and Rehm seriously stretching as to what they can do with their instruments, both in terms of playing and production, and while I’m no tech-head, I can’t help but stand amazed at the sight/sound of it. The aforementioned synth-sounding guitars are the biggest piece of it, bouncing and stomping all over the place in big, chromatic bars like a kid’s keyboard, but there’s also Rehm’s fluttering, warbling guitar line in “Guilt,” which slips and slides along the over the rock-solid (yet still strangely off-kilter) drums.

For his part of it, Hart doesn’t play so much as assault his drum kit, crashing and thundering in a way that’s never subtle but doesn’t need to be, because it’s still brainy and wild at once. Listening to his and Rehm’s interplay makes my head swim in the best possible way. By the time I reach the final track, the comedown-ready “Same Difference,” the band’s Vampire Weekend like jauntiness seems like a much-needed breath of air, even leavened by the thick, weighty prog-rock-isms thrown on top of it.

The best way I can get a handle on Remainder, in the end, is to view it as a thinking person’s noisy pop album: it’s chaotic and spastic and requires a hell of a lot of your attention, but if you can give it, it’s well worth holding on for the ride.

Feature photo by Cory Schultz.

[Caddywhompus is playing 12/17/10 at Mango’s as part of the Black Christmas II show, along with Fat Tony, B L A C K I E, DJ A&A, & DJ iPod Ammo, and also 12/25/10 at Fitzgerald’s, along with 30footFALL, Monster Soup, Something Fierce, Skeleton Dick, Commie Hillfiger, The Cutters, & Organ Failure.]
(Community Records -- 2500 Broadway, New Orleans, LA. 70125; http://www.communityrecords.org/; Caddywhompus -- http://caddywhompusmusic.blogspot.com/)
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Review by . Review posted Friday, December 17th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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3 Responses to “Caddywhompus, Remainder

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: the last place you look + Temporary Insanity + The Eastern Sea + Caddywhompus (Reviewed!/Free Download!) + Lotus Effect + More on December 17th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    […] If you haven’t seen the latter, btw, you’re missing out — these two guys make enough chaotic-yet-gorgeous spazz-prog-psych-pop noise to rival a band three times their size. They sent us a copy of the most recent CD, Remainder, a while back, and my lazy ass has finally gotten it reviewed; check out the full review here. […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: 30footFALL + Caddywhompus + Something Fierce + The Handsomes + The Cutters + Weird Party + More on December 24th, 2010 at 1:01 am

    […] This time around, it’s not even limiting itself to strictly “punk” bands, instead sucking in the cool, brainy/noisy psych-pop sounds of Caddywhompus and the oddball “house band” of Super Happy Fun Land, Organ Failure. For the former, btw, we’ve got a review up of the Houston/New Orleans duo’s latest, Remainder, on over here. […]

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » FPSF 2012 Rundown, Pt. 1: Caddywhompus + Girl In A Coma + Quiet Company + Diplo + Young the Giant + Morris Day + More on June 6th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    […] been a year or two since I’ve checked in on the Caddywhompus guys; I enjoyed 2010′s Remainder quite a bit, even if it blurs the line between CW and previous band Riff Tiffs to […]

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