The first time I heard the intro to Can’t Explain The Tide, I definitely didn’t realise that it was a live recording. However, things quickly became clearer with the arrival of second track P.I.P (Persuasion Is Power) and what I initially felt was an awkward shift in production style.
Can’t Explain The Tide, to my somewhat confused ears, sounds like a live band recording with a strong possibility of additional overdubs and some extra studio magic. As much as I love live recordings, it has to be said that when they don’t go well, it makes for difficult listening. Cultural Other do have some fucking sick ideas going on in here, but the way they’ve been presented doesn’t do justice to the obvious effort, passion, and thought that’s gone into the composition, songwriting, and performances.
This EP’s intro offers brilliantly jazzy brushstrokes, glassy clean guitars, and Maynard James Keenan-esque vocals; but beyond that bursting-with-promise 103 seconds lies too-harsh distortion along with bass tones that lack power and punch, and weak drum sounds. Cultural Other’s ambition is obvious, the songs themselves are very cool, and you can hear how each instrumentalist means it – but the final result sounds too much like a live demo to grab the listener by the balls (or equivalent female parts) in the way it honestly should.
Cultural Other are definitely a band to watch – but on this evidence (and their recent live set at the Boileroom), they’re still a way off realising their own clear-cut and achievable ambitions. Fortunately, it’s only a matter of time before these guys finally get where they want to be.
Can’t Explain The Tide drops on November 14th. See Cultural Other’s website for updates.