The Occasion

Cannery Hours (Say Hey Records)

As much an art school collective as a proper group, the five New Yorkers who make up The Occasion create some of the quietest racket imaginable. Obvious connections with the more restrained efforts of the Velvet Underground and Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd are made clear on tracks such as the subtly devious "So Far" and the more rhythmic "All Over Idaho." Cannery Hours, the band's sophomore release, is music for late night carnivals, filled with blurry images and dubious characters. Brent Cordero, Jordi Wheeler and Charles Burst share vocal duties as the solid bass of Marlon Sporer and the tape manipulations of Sara Shaw hold this atmospheric anti-pop together. All three singers possess pleasant tenors that play well against the implied panic of the music itself. Enigmatic almost to the point of tedium, such lines as "Bailing out wasn't planned/It just went down with the pills and the sand" ("Secret Shopper") and "I feel a sickness coming on/It'll scatter my bones across the lawn" ("Equine") don't make the band any more approachable. However, such skill at creating dense sonic backdrops tips the scales in the Occasion's favor.
 
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