Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
The new material that Oakland, Calif., band Cryptacize has hatched lately could be laid out as individual poisoned apples (tis the season for these and those carameled apples with razor blades slipped into the cores), planted by a jealous queen or a curious mind, just to see who would dare taste a bite. They have no trace of foul play, nor are they sour or bitter or caustic to the lips and tongue, but they are devilish demons dressed in apple's clothing. They'll only remind you with a light smarting - as if you were licking the node of a live triple A battery to check its juice - that there are as many positive as negative charges to everything we're aware of, or should be aware of.
These are adventurous new works that could be taken from the parts of most fairy tales, when the conflict kicks in and things get good. It's when all of the moralities and the goodness and cruelness are enacted and there's a weather system about to brew up some inclement conditions for everyone in the picture. We're regaled with these inclement conditions and they come to be what rainy weather is to a Seattle dweller - just another sunny day. What's good to picture is an iced gray day, only there's no coldness to be found, just that which can be found in your pits, or lured from the memory reels. It's the kind of day that Snow White would have been awoken from her spell on, startled and disoriented. It's the kind of day that brings to mind the scene from the "Wizard of Oz," when the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys call up the massive field of poppies to put Dorothy and her travel mates down to sleep so there's no getting to Emerald City for anyone - all over a pair of shoes. It's that and it's just as much, if not more, the snow that Glenda, the good witch, drops down to break the black magic spell.
Nedelle Torrisi, who tackles all of the lead singing duties on the four new songs associated with this session, bakes into her pretty voice these somewhat menacing uncertainties - menacing only in that their greatest strengths are lodged in truth and possibility, while still maintaining an Italo Calvino or Walt Disney sense of absurdism. She brings these polarities (of love and revenge) - of the curse and the snowy medication - to the forefront. Torrisi meanders with the odd and enticing music that Chris Cohen and drummer Michael Carreira tack the songs together with, casting a cool autumn wind to the efforts - one that kicks up and kicks down, but is always there in some state, announcing its presence. There is death in some of these songs (the capitalized kind) and there is soothingly restless life on the flip side, combating with the confluence of frayed notes and nerves that provide most of the remaining bodywork.
It's an easy thing to remain calm, cool and collected (that just described Torrisi again) throughout the listening of these songs, but there comes a time when the reflections start to happen and you see what Cryptacize has just done to you and you've being given an opportunity to cast off into some serpentine waters, meant for those who can accept that even though you rarely have the patience to watch it happen, flowers fold themselves back up at night, pulling in their colors, because that's when there's no telling what could happen. When those nights, with the misty fog rolling in and sitting spookily around the tree and chimney tops, thick and choking, start their scheming or the gray parts of a day action out their desires, they're accepted as the mere things that gray days do, or the mere things that full moons do to people. The hypnotizing poppies and the flowery plants growing up and out of the dark beneath old man houses are the greenery that makes up the new world that Cryptacize has adopted and there's not another place like it - where the longer you're there, the more you feel that it's where you were meant to find all of the things you never knew you were looking for. There are more of them than you think.
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