...remind me of Drive Like Jehu meets Sonic Youth, with maybe some Mission Of Burma thrown in for good measure…Its intense, attacking rock and roll, reminiscent of what I might imagine DLJ wouldve sounded like if they had kept a harder edge instead of mellowing out a bit with Hot Snakes. Theres some dynamic here, but the mood is pretty straight forward. Rock, rock, and more rock.
This five song EP is Caterpillar Tracks first batch of new material since they released their full length a few years ago. This is yet another great recording effort to come out of local recording studio: Candyland Studio, run by Mike Montgomery of Thistle and Ampline fame. Equal parts Fugazi and Mission to Burma, Caterpillar Tracks call to mind a less frenetic Death in Graceland (RIP) which as it turns out, recorded a majority of their last record Gifts at Candyland. Scrape the Summer brings several ingredients to the table, one being their use of a myriad of guitar effects, creating a very spacey feel that contrasts not only with the throbbing nature of the bands songs, but with the style of vocals that in some points come quite close to being an Ian Mackaye Fugazi era rip-off. With the band’s clear political sentiments, who can blame anyone for seeing this comparison? But despite the commonalities, Caterpillar Tracks exude much more raw energy than most Fugazi recordings. This is due mainly to the fact that Caterpillar Tracks recorded the songs that make up "Scrape the Summer" with live takes as a full band, with minimal overdubs here and there (Then it wouldn’t be a true studio album, now would it?) The five songs on this EP offer a number of small nuances that are usually hard to notice on an EP. From the whispering on Its Scientific Goddamn that give the song a paranoid feel to it, to the electronics and explosions and percussion on the mayhem that starts off Midnight at the Taser Bingo which hits its climax and then tosses and turns into the best guitar part on the album. It turns out that Caterpillar Tracks have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. The ominous drumming that ends the EP can only mean one thing
more music in the future.
Caterpillar Tracks is probably a band that prefers not to be lumped into any specific categories, which works out well since theyre difficult to pigeonhole or to describe at all, for that matter. Scrape the Summer delivers catchy, driving guitar over a modern, danceable beat
but without being sassy in the least. Crisp guitar tone and chord progressions that deviate from the same old thing warrant an extra listen… Scrape the Summer impresses the way that solid releases from relatively unknown artists should.
...This band throws down a selection of terse punk leaning indie rock forged around a foundation of tight hooks, a well defined range of dynamics, and guitar parts that attempt to blaze out your speakers in the process. Melodic yet not pop, the five songs here keep building up the tension with a medium bordering on fast tempo approach creating a sonic identity until the last track goes somewhere completely different (hearing it is easier than my attempt to try and describe what goes down) for a while. I’d never heard this band before but found myself interested in what happen to them as they progress with time. This is one of those discs that the more curious of underground rock fans might want to hear and determine for themselves towards them.
THE TROUBLE WITH NORMAL
Caterpillar Tracks has followed up their 2004 self-titled album with an EP, Scrape the Summer. Though its a short five-song CD, it packs an emotional punch. A split release on both Phratry Records and Bacteria Lounge, guitarist Dave Cupps own record label, Scrape displays noise and rock. Four of five songs are rock; one of five is noise. The four rock tracks display layered guitars, screaming vocals, solid thumping bass, and adept drumming. My problem with the singing is that Shane Johnson ruins his otherwise talented voice by screaming, and in doing so, renders the lyrics indecipherable. Known to be a socially conscious band, their best statement is their lyric-less-ambient-noise-drum-n-bass epic, and my favorite on the album, Midnight at the Taser Bingo. Midnight leaves you with a hopeful feeling, because after the rhythm-less first five minutes with simulated grenade explosions and other destruction, a triumphant, powerful lead guitar line floats lingeringly above the fray, signaling that you have survived a track written by some disturbed individuals. Only one minute later, the guitar drops out again. You are left with a death march. Then the snare drum becomes a flickering heartbeat. Then it dies. Thank goodness.
"...Scrape the Summer is an evolutionary step for Caterpillar Tracks. The self-titled LP was an exercise in layering and, while the parts worked well together, they maintained distinct characteristics. On this EP, the songs’ maturity acts as a catalyst. Just like a pot of chili tastes better the day after it’s made, the musical ingredients have had time to meld, creating new flavors. The band has never lacked cohesion, but now their complexity is more subtle and organic. Sounds and textures that would have been boosted and in your face on the last album now lurk below the surface and give a new depth to every track…"
Caterpillar Tracks is one of those bands that makes you sit up and listen hard… (they) have guts and passion and energy, without the pretense of reaching for something unattainable.
Post-hardcore has come a long way since Fugazi issued their first two EPs in the late 1980s, but dont tell this to Caterpillar Tracks. Much like New Jerseys Rye Coalition and Chicagos Haymarket Riot, this Cincinnati-based band has a weakness for angular guitars, propulsive rhythms and almost tuneless scream-sing vocals that can be directly attributed to Ian MacKaye and Co. circa 1990. Tunes like opener Just Here To Visit and the anthemic Article 2 Section 2.15...simply demand an audience to sing along…Proper Method Of Display and Last Desperate Move manage a little bit of restraint before exploding.
Although they inhabit a relatively narrow sonic spectrum, Caterpillar Tracks explore every micrometer of it. The twin guitars are pitted against each other in a complex interplay, and sometimes one drops out of the arrangement altogether to throw a pick scratch or feedback hand grenade. The twin vocals recall Fugazi and Braid, equal parts yelling and singing. The drums stay out of the way when necessary, which isnt oftenthese songs are headstrong, full-speed-ahead affairs. They work because theres no clutter; Caterpillar Tracks has stripped their music of anything extraneous and left us the best parts. Its not that these songs are simple, because they can be biglisten to the huge Trail Of Dead riffs and drums on Big Gunsjust that theyre not overproduced.
Of all the terrible clichés to come out of post-hardcore, the most admirable is a reliance on the music to make its own case. Caterpillar Tracks do that with aplomb, despite their dependence on tried-and-true formulae. Theyve proven their mastery of the style here, and it now remains to be seen if they can open it up a little without losing the energy that makes them so vibrant. It would certainly be a shame for them to fall prey to another infamous post-hardcore cliché: stagnation.
Caterpillar Tracks is one of these bands that engages you from the first time you listen to their music. Why? Because all eight tracks are a perfect mix of Punk and Indie rock. On the one hand furious and angry and on the other complex and tricky, but not too cerebral. And yes, like all the other reviewers before me, Im bound to refer to the slight resemblance to the sound to Fugaziespecially the singers voice. He oftennot alwayssounds like the DC Heroes at the time of Repeater and Steady Diet. You dont believe it? Just listen to the awesome opener Just Here To Visit...Another band, that had/has to bear this Fugazi comparison is Haymarket Riotand so there are parallels too. Also there are parallels to 31 Knots….Really outstanding…pretty well produced…and I recommend this record warmly to everyone who has a weakness for the mentioned bands….I keep [my] fingers crossed that everything works out fine for them.
OX FANZINE #58
Caterpillar Tracks are their own type of music despite the comparisons that can be made. Skillfully moving between alternative, indie, punk, emo, and harder-rock, Caterpillar Tracks are equally comfortable in whatever portions of those genres they decide to use for the track.
Caterpillar Tracks take relatively basic chord progressions and add refreshingly creative textural touches, particularly with guitar…The result is exciting and aggressive rock thats 100% bullshit free. Recommended If You Like: Kerosene 454 and other Slowdime/ Dischord bands, Rocket From The Crypt
...Caterpillar Tracks really came out of nowhere and in true classic form, hit me hard and left me floored…they are complex enough with the two-guitar assault for those who feel they need more than just three chords to be amazed but yet, they are rocking enough for the three chord crowd too!...Big Guns hits me in the head like a falling hammer at a construction site. I am bleeding but also smiling….the sort of songs you sing along [to] when you see the band live…I highly recommend this CD
NEUS SUBJEX #62