CFTP - Pitchfork review

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Auburn Lull
Cast from the Platform
[Darla; 2004]
Rating: 8.0

Darla; 2004]
"I'm not an entomologist or anything, but I think I have proof that butterflies live great lives. You start out as a caterpillar, of course, a furry little thing with a tent-like exoskeleton and too many legs, but before long, you're wrapped in your chrysalis, slowly morphing into something entirely different, more mature, and frequently beautiful. What I really think gives butterflies the edge over other species is that period of metamorphic hibernation-- during their most awkward phase, they're insulated from the world at large, and they still emerge with a new maturity. On the other extreme, when we're in our most awkward phase, adolescence, we're thrust into the hostile social grist mills we refer to as schools, and emerging with a new-found maturity on the other end is no sure bet. Some people emerge as adults, others just very large caterpillars.

People really have nothing to compare to that chrysalis state, though certainly try hard to find it; Thoreau on Walden Pond, transcendental meditation, or even a teenager in that awkward phase hiding out in her room with the radio up to drown out thoughts and inquisitive parents seem to reach for it. To heighten the effect, that teenager might want to slip in Cast from the Platform, the sophomore effort from Lansing, MI's Auburn Lull, which is about as close as you can come, musically, to being wrapped in heavy gauze and closed in from the ugly detail revealed by harsh direct light.

There is no awkwardness in the world the band creates on Cast from the Platform, only abiding grace and enveloping beauty. Even when they cast their tunnel of light drones and oceanic washes of guitar and synth texture across fractured rhythms, as they do on "Season of False Starts", the flow of sound is too natural to be hobbled. "Direction & Destination", meanwhile, has all the weightless illumination of the Verve's debut EP or Bark Psychosis' "I Know", Sean Heenan's rounded, seafoam (and suspiciously British-sounding) vocals drifting over Jason Weisinger's spacious drums through a cavern of water-formed reverb.

This is the kind of album that will no doubt garner more than a few reviews that try to pin a shoegazer label to it, and just as many that try to call it "space-rock" or something similar, and that's a shame, because it's entirely too ascendant to deserve the first term, and too terrestrial and warm to warrant the second. "Trenches" may have guitars that could soundtrack a supernova, but that shuffling march beat keeps it firmly on the ground, while piano and dusty vocals render it human and evocative. The music's principle paradox is its expansiveness in spite of the intimacy of the recording-- it's the kind of thing that seems perfect for a rainy day alone inside with cats and books, but also makes me want to get out the maps and start planning routes to scenic places.

Ultimately, it's your choice when you listen to it; my role really only extends to imploring you to give it a go in the first place. Auburn Lull's musical cocoon is a wholly inviting one, melodic and gorgeously textured, uniform in sound, but with enough rhythmic and tonal variety to explode any accusations of monochromaticism. Cast from the Platform is an album you can immerse yourself in as deeply as you like, so step inside. You won't regret it."

-Joe Tangari, June 10, 2004