Nothing Is Cohesive
A bold and beautiful collection of post-modern garage rockers and lush seventies-style piano ballads that the band recorded in their garage studio just may be their best effort to date. And that says a lot coming from the very prolific and experimental group that features the impassioned vocals of Ed Hale and the guitar histrionics of their well known and much respected guitarist Fernando Perdomo. Nothing is Cohesive, the band’s third CD, is raw, unrefined, and surges with an honest musical sensuality that is breathtaking at times. It mixes a variety of classic and modern rock styles in a surprisingly cohesive listen for how far-out the band was willing to travel in their sonic explorations to achieve something completely different from last years Sleep With You.
Transcendence has been enjoying major radio success across the country with their latest hit single "Superhero Girl," while bridging the gap between passionate new-rock with an old-school melodic seventies rock. While their over the top electrifying live performances have been taking indie-music audiences by storm, there has been a slow-brewing flurry of anticipation over their soon to be released new CD entitled Nothing is cohesive. The album’s off the cuff schizophrenia has been described as ‘Radiohead meets Lou Reed or somewhere in between.’ The new CD, which the band recorded in a garage studio with no producer on-hand, may be their most honest work to date.
Ed Hale, Fernando Perdomo, Roger Houdaille, Jon Rose, Bill Sommer, Ben Belin.
Recorded at Perdomo Sound, Summer of 2003.
Mastered by Fred Freeman
New York's Transcendence has added a touch of class to their gritty rock 'n' roll. Their mix of sleaze with sophistication recalls Louis XIV or Jet with better tunes. Like a one-stop supermarket, Transcendence supplies the sauce for a bender, and the aspirin for the morning after.
-- Editors Review
:: The Daily Vault
A great album is like a great painting, a great wine, a great movie or a great kiss. It takes your breath away, tickles your senses, steals time and leaves you changed -- maybe sad, maybe smiling, anything but indifferent. Nothing Is Cohesive is a great album. It is also one of the most aptly titled discs to cross my desk in many a moon. If you're looking for 12 variations on the same basic theme, go buy a Nickelback album or something. This is art here, folks -- diverse, challenging, reckless, and brilliant.
So after that build-up, what does Transcendence -- Ed Hale (vocals, guitars, piano, keys), Fernando Perdomo (guitars, drums, vocals, sitar, keys), Roger Houdaille (bass, vocals, guitar), Jon Rose (piano, keys, vocals), Bill Sommer & Ben Belin (drums) -- actually sound like? Imagine Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Frank Zappa, Roger Waters, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Dan Wilson (Semisonic) and Bono partying all night and then cutting an album with Beatles producer George Martin manning the boards, and you might be in the neighborhood. It's an erratic, ecstatic kaleidoscope of tones, textures, voices and attitudes that takes all the right lessons from '70s rock and employs them with imagination and flair, and it adds up to utter shambling magnificence.
Indeed, Nothing Is Cohesive , but that's what makes it special. It's like an episode of Lost , where you think you finally know something, and then they find another way to turn your expectations inside out. It's musical anarchy, beautiful chaos. It's art. It's Transcendence. Do not miss it.
- Jason Warburg, www.dailyvault.com
:: Kynd Music
Transcendence's previous two albums have made the band underground and alternative college and commercial radio darlings. Songs like "Vicodin" and "Superhero Girl" seemed to spread like wildfire out of their dual Florida and New York bases, landing the band spots on new music showcases like NEMO in Boston and CMJ in New York as well as a European tour this past summer.
So they certainly beat the sophomore jinx but can this third album continue their momentum?
Well that depends on what part of the album you listen. Scattered throughout the 15 songs there are moments of brilliance that have atmospheric guitar combining with devious and disfigured rhythms. Songs like "Somebody Kill the DJ," "I Wanna Know You," "Come On," and "Revolution in Me"contort and gnarl your speakers with a wonderful post-punk pop sensibility. Then there are a couple of oddly placed but very strong Beatles-esque piano ballads as well and the title track which is a brilliantly timed and bewildering minimalist trance piece.
In between those songs is the rest of the CD. Now don't get me wrong, the rest of the CD is quite passable but that's what bothers me I think. In the midst of the brilliance that stutters on the title track or rages on a song like "Revolution in Me" the other songs seem to be almost deliberately watered down.
So will they continue their momentum? Yes. There is plenty to hear, for all parties involved and I could hear this album being received well in college dorms around the country. Besides that, its worth the price alone just for the seamless loop that bleeds from the title track (the last song) into the untitled first song and then into "Somebody Kill the DJ." Brilliant.
- Al Haroldson, Kynd Music
:: Not Lame Records
"Transcendence bring to mind the pomp and glitter sounds that may collide if you merged classic Love `n Rockets, Matthew Sweet and Iggy Pop with David Bowie, T. Rex, World Party, The Thrills, Frank Zappa, even U2 and White Stripes. While that sounds all over the place, it works because the band here has control of its self-made manifesto and the confidence and talent to pull off the disparate sounds, well, `cohesively`. A bold and beautiful collection of post-modern rockers and lush seventies-style piano ballads that the band recorded in their garage studio just may be their best effort to date. You`d never guess that, tho, w/ the quality of the recording here...very organic, sounds analog, as well(is it?). "Tapping power pop`s greatest sounds, the group combines Jellyfish`s innate melodicism, Queen`s layers of orchestral bliss and enough synths to make John Hughes grin..On "Tomorrow", they play a bouncy Paul MCCartney-like pianoisms that would m ake Matthew Sweet jealous, including a leg-kicking outro suitable for any Abbey Road knock-off."-CMJ. Not sure about the Jellyfish vibe, it`s here and there but the boggling and enraptured spirit here reminds me a lot of Polyphonic Spree playing the soundtrack to Hedwig And The Angry Inch and Tommy. A true original and a most appropriate band name for these ears."
-Not Lame Records
:: Holly Haze WKQC Charlotte NC
The musical talent expressed on Nothing is Cohesive is mind blowing. Hale and the boys can belt out a rock ballad(All this is beginning to feel like an ending), get jiggy with a pop tune(Somebody Kill the DJ), or plain rock with the best of the best(Come On and Revolution in Me). At times there is a hint of Bowie or Bono, or even Lennon...but overall a unique sound. Although Caetano is my absolute favorite(even if you don't know who he is), I could listen to this entire CD over and over without getting tired of it. Transcendence deserves far greater than college radio airplay.
:: CMJ NEW MUSIC MONTHLY
"I've seen the future and it's clear/Revolution in me," sings Transcendence mainman Ed Hale, in his creaking Bono-esque voice on "Revolution In Me." Filled with pomp, the New York/Miami Beach rockers' third disc, Nothing Is Cohesive, makes the case that the past remains a huge component in the future. Tapping power pop's greatest sounds, the band combines Jellyfish's innate melodicism, Queen's layers of orchestral glitz and enough synthesizers to make John Hughes grin. "Somebody Kill The DJ" (perhaps a lyrical nod to the Smiths), has the best synthesized Star Trek music bed this side of Paramount Pictures. On "Tomorrow," they play bouncy Paul McCartney-like pianisms that would make Matthew Sweet jealous, including a leg-kicking outro suitable for any Abbey Road knockoff. Though named after the revolutionary Brazilian pop music sensation, "Caetano" neither bossas nor novas. Instead, Hale's clever verse-chorus sensibilities float over a deep Phil Spector wall of sound. "Caetano" also features Hale channeling the sexuality of his vocal step-fodders, Bono and Michael Hutchence, when he sings, "Now you're a god, the power to heal from just your singing...Man you are the only man I'd make love to, I would, I swear it." - Kory Grow
:: SMOTHER.net EDITORS PICK !!! Transcendence - Nothing Is Cohesive
It is completely untrue that the only real transcendental track is the glammy album introduction. The rest is psychedelic garage rock that is every bit as close to Fischerspooner that you can get without being that great art rock outfit. Vocalist Ed Hale filters it all through his socially-conscious and cerebral lyrics. A track like â€œSomebody Kill the DJâ€ will get honorable mention as New Wave retro track of 2005 for sure, while â€œCaetanoâ€ is every bit as Radiohead as it gets. These guys sound like they pulled out some old Bowie tracks, did a bunch of drugs, and hit record, playing until the sun came up the next day. - Smother.net
:: New Times Magazine
"The mind boggling mix summed up by the title cut of their new opus, Nothing is cohesive, is a stunning collision of anthems that cull from Pink Floyd and Supertramp to U2, Coldplay and Radiohead."
-Lee Zimmerman, New Times Magazine, Brighten up the corners: Transcendence interview
"Softening" will fuck with your head. It would be interesting to know what was going on in the recording studio when they recorded this? One thing I've learned from listening to their albums, is that Ed Hale has a freaking great control of his vocals. Two final observations. "Somebody Kill the DJ" could be tweaked into the single. The other is that you have to credit a band that can somehow fall in-between Zappa and Wings and get away with it.
- Jonathan Rosen, JLRADIO.COM
:: All Music Guide
4 out of 5 stars ****
"Rock & roll from the Paris Hilton set out to lunch, out of time, and unconcerned about anything but their own vanity. It rocks like nothing else out there. Get it."
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
:: Splendid Magazine
"While all that glitters is typically far from gold, the modern rock group Transcendence gleams a luminescent shade of platinum!"
- Steve English, SPLENDID MAGAZINE
:: The Music Edge
Reviewer: Susan Frances
Emerging from the New York and Miami music scenes, Transcendence has made a noticeable mark at the 2004 CMJ Music Festival and the NEMO Music Festival in Boston last summer. Their anticipated third LP entitled Nothing is Cohesive comprises of psychedelic melodic pop tunes endowed with a 70's glam rock vocal swagger by lead vocalist Ed Hale and embellished by lulling vocal harmonies from session songstress Karen Feldner.
The music is a combination of prismatic synth effects, roving 60's style keyboards, and stirring chord movements that are clasped together by undulating intones from the drum and bass arrangements. At times the music reverberates like a collage of discordant notes and at others it resonates with the glossy texture of silken cadence.
The helmsman Ed Hale, whose vocal sensibilities are the driving force steering the flow and ebbs of the winding melodies, is joined by bandmates Ricardo Mazzi on drums, Fernando Perdomo on guitar, Allan Gabay on keyboards, and Roger Houdaille on bass. Many of the members are multi-dexterous, adept at playing several types of instruments including Perdomo who performed a mesmerizing upbeat string succession on the sitar for the song "Bored" and congealed the bubbling phonics of a moog to tweak the tune. Transcendence maintains a total sense of freedom in their song structures and may likely be the quintessential garage jamband playing notes when the vibe moves them.
There is an aura of 60's musical influences imbedded into the songs rhythms overall from groups like The Mamas and The Papas ("California Dreamin'"), The Byrds ("Eight Miles High") and The Animals ("Lucky Man'). The lyrics also egress with a 60's creative surge making open innuendoes from rock and roll lifestyle allusions, which at times are sung in Spanish or French as well as English. Hale's lyrics in"Cleopatra Ecstasy" would rival those of The Doors lyricist the late Jim Morrison with verses like: I took Cleopatra for a ride/ Walking out of my car/ Rolling Cleopatra feels so alive/ After putting her down/ Cleopatra shines for me no more.
Although most of the lyrics and music are written by Hale and Transcendence respectively, they do a cover version of Linda and Paul McCartney's ditty "Tomorrow," which includes a whispering, mellow overture that mollifies the mood before moving the piece into a fuller sonorous. Hale's bedroom eyes slant to the vocals gives the song a melodramatic pathos for the sonnet.
Hale's raw lyrics meshed with Transcendence's psychedelic pop melodies have made what was once old, new again, giving this style of music possibilities to attract a new audience.
"This group knows how to transcend musical boundaries."
Transcendence is a rock band driven primarily by Ed Hale's distinctively emotive vocals. Hale sings with an urgency that may remind you of World Party's Karl Wallinger (anybody still remember him/them?) at times, and he often comes across like he's overwhelmed by all of his inner feelings. The CD's title is more of a commentary on the scattered nature of life itself, instead of the music this group makes, because the songs on this disc hold together relatively well.
This group knows how to transcend musical boundaries, as these songs range from a cover of Paul McCartney's "Tomorrow," to one called "Caetano," which is most likely about the Brazilian singer/social commentator Caetano Veloso. On "Caetano," Hale's voice tones fall somewhere between Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and "Space Oddity"-era David Bowie. To his credit, Hale is never afraid to play the vocal chameleon if the direction of the song requires it.
There is a likeable sense of spontaneity running through these recordings, including plenty of controlled instrumental chaos (or simply put, feedback) at the end of some tracks. There is also plenty of stylistic variation here. For instance, "I Wanna Know Ya" chugs along with garage-y fervor, yet "Softening," where the song title also describes the sound of the track, is a gentle, Todd Rundgren-y piano ballad. "If Your Baby Could" is also especially sweet, and plays out like a lullaby. Adding to the fun of this listening experience is the sexy sound of a women speaking in French between a few tracks.
It should be noted that Hale does have a bit of potty mouth at times. Never more so than on "Bored," which - though profane -still succinctly sums up a few of entertainment business's more harsh realities. "I'm such a f-ing whore, prostituting my integrity to secure this false celebrity," Hale blurts out at one point.
Hale may have transformed his boredom into a notable song, but chances are you'll never be bored by Transcendence. It may even help you transcend a few of the duller moments of your day.
By Dan MacIntosh