Band – Cavalcade
Album – Quarantine EP
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Sludge Metal
Release Date – May 8, 2020
Label – Independent Release
Author – JGilbert
“Isolation and inefficiency causing irritation, leading to insanity, and ultimately, death. Is it Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness? No! It’s a new Cavalcade EP!”
Cavalcade are one of Michigan’s brightest diamonds-in-the-rough. Likely the weirdest band in the state, they’re always ready to pull a surprise out of their back pocket (at least… I HOPE that’s where they pulled it from). The band is known for their atypical solutions to the quotidienne challenges that face a touring rock band; from their unconventional instrumentation to their refuse-to-conform vocal styles, and this time they’ve addressed the problem of statewide quarantines and lockdown by cleverly putting together a short EP of two tracks and a cover (from INXS of all sources…) aptly titled Quarantine EP.
According to the band, they had begun recording many of the parts that would become Quarantine EP before shelter-in-place orders were issued. Never ones to be defeated by adversity, the band arranged for the ability to record and share parts from their five disparate homes. Cavalcade doesn’t pretend like this kind of extra mile was easy to travel; in one case it necessitated recording tracks on the back patio while someone engineered the session from inside the house. The lengths we’ll go for social distancing!
Musically, the EP is on-brand for Cavalcade’s unique variety of “weirdo metal”; omnichord and theremin included. The opening track “Distilled Desire” meanders through heavy drone and melodic clean parts with the expected bizarro soundscape in the background. It’s this experimental element that makes Cavalcade more interesting than the flat post-grunge band they might sound like without their audacity to constantly search for new trails to blaze in their “nu-jazz sludge” compositions. “Smile Like a Ghost” sounds like the kind of fist-pumping romp that would be a highlight of one of Cavalcade’s legendary live performances. This song is pure Lansing raunch and makes me feel like I can smell the inside of Mac’s Bar when I hear it. The final track is an unreleased cover from a session for GTG Records and although it seems like a curveball at first, the band execute the song brilliantly and it only stands out as not original to their twisted minds for the fact that it retains too much of the original structure and consonance to have been purely a Cavalcade production.
In all, Quarantine EP is exactly the kind of good time that feels absent during the coronavirus pandemic. Cavalcade always delivers a uniquely enjoyable experience and this EP, created in spite of considerable impediment, created out of a NEED to create, is extra special. It’s also extra short so it’s easy to find time to fit a spin into your day.