Monday, August 17, 2009

Paintbox "Trip, Trance, Traveling" CD

The long awaited third album from Paintbox, and sadly the last to feature Chelsea on guitar. I believe recording started in 2001 and the sessions also yielded the Cry of the Sheeps and ゲンセキ eps. A long saga of closed studios, incarceration, presumably nearly endless overdubs and orchestration, and finally Chelsea's passing in 2007 delayed its release until now. Its hard to believe that it has already been two years since his death. I was fortunate enough to see Paintbox for the first time at Shinjuku DOM in 2004, and they were one of the most technically proficient bands I've ever seen. It was almost weird seeing musicians of such high caliber playing in a basement punk club, but I think that part of what made Paintbox so special was that they didn't "progress" to playing jazz or heavy metal. Instead, they pushed the limits of their hardcore punk sound and explored freely which gave their music a depth few others can touch. At sixteen songs and over an hour, this record is a lot to take in and will definitely be one to go back to repeatedly as time goes by. Despite the length, it's very listenable. I like to think of it in four song blocks, as the upcoming double LP on Prank will probably be divided into. Each block has a previously released song re-recorded and these serve as familiar anchors to keep the listener from getting lost in uncharted territory. Whenever the frantic pace and trumpets and blazing, singing solos almost get to be too much, there is a more mellow song to bring things back down for a few minutes. I remember the final song (出発) being played over the PA at the end of the Chelsea memorial show in February 2008, and it has a feeling of excitement, uncertain future, and departure, a perfectly fitting end. These are first press copies in a nice mini gatefold with a big booklet. If the booklet gets blown up to full size for the LP, its going to be very cool, lots of pictures including many from their US shows.

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