REVIEW: Cinnamon Drafthouse - "101"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

101Before Right Lane Ends got grungy yet after Plastic Houses slid quietly in, Cinnamon Drafthouse made a few hard to find recordings. Stepping out of the studio and leaning now towards an acoustic style and live environment, Chris Eissing of Plastic Houses recorded in his basement studio a series of songs that infused blues, rhythm, alternative rock, shougazer and other niche genres onto a new rock CD. Exploring years worth' of work and called 101, eleven remastered Cinnamon Drafthouse originals are now offered.

The music can be quite shoegazey at times, yet doesn't recede behind with strong and powerful use of blaring guitar riffs. All of the music here shows excellent technical merit - different styles, rhythms and instrument types are explored. It's a very gritty CD, with post-punk influences and sub-par garage programming for the truly indie fan.

Some tracks of note include Rainbow. Simple and pleasant, strong guitars are used to keep it from receding in the background. The vocals could have been tempered with a little more control and subduing hands - but this very style of singing is used with great aplomb in Whatever Happened. Here it gives the song a shadowy effect with the music set just behind the voice. The voice retains a living echo while the music remains a supporting backcground - excepting choruses where Cinnamon's signature blarey guitar comes through to spike the song to your heart. Very difficult to keep from singing along.

Meanwhile beat creates a true blues mood with saxophone solos throughout. So you can see that many elements have come together on this CD. The songs also transfer wonderfully with live playing, as I've seen Cinnamon Drafthouse perform and enjoyed it. They all have a folk song around-the-fire type of setting about them without dipping too far away from the powerful rock element. While the sub-par production steals power from some tracks like I Don't Know, it adds to other tracks such as She is Gone so it's difficult for me to mention that as a fault or a blessing.

In the end, I'll keep this CD in my personal collection for its charm and wit. If you're still unsure yourself, you can check out Cinnamon's full catalogue as found on 101 at their website in MP3 format.

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