Patience Above

by: CastorTroy

The end of Patience Above seems like an appropriate place to start, with "Home," CastorTroy's desperate attempt to make sense of Hurricane Katrina and the destruction it wrought upon their Mississippi home. Although just over three minutes long, it has an epic quality, and one expects this will become an extended centerpiece to their live show for years to come. "Home" is a glorious number, where confusion and fear rub shoulders with an uplifting determination to rebuild something even greater than it was -- which contrasts brightly with the rage that storms around the opening "Worthless," an angry hard rocker with grunge and hardcore elements, underpinned by incendiary guitar leads and Chris Scott's incandescent vocals. One is tempted to read the lyrics as an indictment of FEMA and Bush's empty promises toward Katrina's victims, but the lyrics never specify precisely who Scott is railing against. Considering CastorTroy's history, you wouldn't think they'd have time to whine, but that's precisely what they do on "Pressure," an angsty, grunge-ridden number ripped right out of the Kurt Cobain "life sucks as a star" songbook -- an unhappy echo that Geoff Ott's mixing and mastering reinforces. Ott, who's worked with most of Seattle's greats, gives much of Patience Above a grunge feel, too often pushing Scott down in the mix, but even he can't muddy the lovely guitar lines that splay across "One Day" and "Living the Dream." The former eventually coalesces into a grand Southern rocker, with an anthemic fist-in-the-air chorus; the latter, whose cheery theme belies "Pressure"'s downbeat one, keeps threatening to fall into hard rock but instead spills into the most soulful of emo. The songs are superb, but pulling too many of them into the Northwest's past doesn't necessarily do them any favors. Perhaps the band could remix a few for its next full-length. ~ Jo-Ann Greene

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