Inspired by one of the worst winters in New England’s recent history, Chris Cote has come up with his latest, an 11-track album entitled Cryptoseismology, which is set to be released near the end of October 2016. The overall feel of the album is one of intriguing discovery. Not quite old, not quite modern, Cote manages to straddle various times within this set and makes of it a journey rather than just a series of songs.
To enhance this feeling of a journey, the set is broken into three sections by two instrumental tracks. “Cryptoseism” feels like just plain weirdness galore, a perfect track for a modern space movie emulating the 1950s in which a trip into space takes a scary turn when the protagonist becomes stuck in darkness with a monster somewhere close by. “Incubator” evokes the same feeling but in a science-fiction movie on Earth in a really weird future.
Most of the tracks are of the midtempo range. The toe-tapping, alternative rocker “My Favorite Day (Is Someday)” features a gentle hypnotising throb. The gentle piano line featured during the main verses contrasts with the loud and crashing electronic guitar of the bridge and chorus. Also of the alternative rock genre, “Kids Playing Outside” uses the regular sound of a bell. It is an intriguing number because although the title and the topic imply it, the song doesn’t evoke innocence, although it does evoke a fun feeling. However, there is a heavy sense of melancholy carried in the emotive vocals, as if there is a sense of regret in not being able to play outside with the kids.
While the keyboard abounds throughout, it is especially present in the pop rock of “One Weird Trick (Receding Care Line)”, playing along with the slightly sensual vocals. The main vocals in “Our Terms” are almost choir-like at times, enhancing its pensive tone, becoming almost hypnotic and meditational.
Some of numbers are a little slower, like “Lilac”, named after the girl who broke up with a boy by calling in a radio station for advice on how to get her back. It is appropriately slow and melancholic mainly because of the delicate piano-line featured throughout. “Disobey”—which only features piano and vocals for almost half of its run—also evokes this same feeling.
Two of the tracks are uptempo, cheerful, and energetic: “Towers” and “Contingency Procedures”. The latter pop rock number is toe-tapping and cheerful because of the high octave, quick-paced keyboard which also happens to give it a very 1970s feel. The vocals are again quite sensual in this track.
Cryptoseismology is an interesting listening experience that is well-planned and well-performed. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information about the band is available on their official Facebook page.