It’s been a year since Carlow’s Ground Of Ruin last put their heads above the parapet. Their debut demo from back then wasn’t essentially bad, and showed a band keen not to reinvent the wheel but rather more sensibly to announce their arrival.
This follow up is a little more ambitious, with a demanding six tracks in all, presented brilliantly and duplicated with great attention to detail. So plaudits there, because it looks spiffing. What lets this offering down, however, is the pretty horrible production.
Everything, and I mean everything, is fighting for what meagre space it can get in the mix. Cymbals bite into the guitar, bass fumbles for a range in the lower stations, and the vocals come in and out of range with irritating inconsistency. Sonically there’s a war going on in there, and it is consequently a very, very tough listen.
It’s a shame, given that a more efficient production would have worked wonders on material that though not amazing is at least solid, if in need of a little maturation.
The guitar is the only treat here, with a nice intricacy that hits just the spot between technical and memorable. But the vocals follow ineffably predictable lines, and are as lyrically dubious as they were on the last one.
Overall though it’s not entirely an opportunity wasted – for a start its great packaging will at least get it near the right tables – but six tracks is simply too much for this stage of the game, and the effort could have been better spent on production and arrangements. It’s a tough game, and them’s the breaks.
Earl Grey ::: 19/12/06