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Eleventh Dream Day | Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey)
Together since the mid-1980's, Eleventh Dream Day (who boast the dubious accolade of having been dropped twice by Atlantic Records) operate on nobody 's schedule but their own. Perhaps better known for their other projects, the three members (Rick Rizzo of Red Red Meat, Janet Beveridge Bean of Freakwater, and Douglas McCombs of Tortoise) bring along a freshness whenever they reconvene under the EDD moniker. It's a project that only rears it's head when the impulse dictates, rather than the drag of any careerist conveyor belt. Despite time lapses and outside interests, EDD still manage to pull it out of the bag, constantly arresting and fascinating, even with what could be offhandly dismissed as the college rock of Stalled Parade. The album's title track opens proceedings like a slow-burning fuse as the vaporous, broad-brushed guitar is buoyed by an elastic bass and the song - in all its My Bloody Valentine glory - manages to be both narcotic and adrenalised at the same time. It's a slow, aching repetition with enough fire in its belly to last for six minutes and still seem brief. Ice Storm follows this with an enervated staccato guitar that reaches breaking point before snapping into a jagged, expressive strum that brings Eleventh Dream Day as close as they'll ever come to Fugazi. Continuing the smorgasbord feel, this is followed up by the short noodling ambience of On Ramp and the jogging-on-the-spot workout of Interstate. This variety doesn't stem from the narrow attention span of a dilettante, but rather from an exploratory nature, a refusal to work themselves into a rut; and with their legs stretched in their other projects, the members of Eleventh Dream Day remain entirely without a rut to fall into. Every moment of Stalled Parade is as good as you think, and while it may be like a busman 's holiday for them, for the rest of us it's a grand day out.
CWAS #6 - Autumn 2000