Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Caspian’s On Circles and Modern Times Brewing Company’s Star Jungle.
The Tunes: Caspian’s On Circles
I have a friend who likes to tell me that he isn’t in control of the albums he likes. It’s the ‘goosebump factor’, the biological response to outside stimulus that he says lets him know the music he’s hearing is really special. As time goes on, I think my own understanding of the albums I like aligns with that view. Caspian’s On Circles is one such album. Four Trees was one of my gateways into the world of post-rock in my younger days, but sadly I lost touch with the band when I started listening to metal as a majority. Something clicked in me when I saw the name in our promo list, though, and I decided to pass on some interesting metal promos to revisit a part of my youth, and in the process I found both an album that I love and something that helps me understand myself better along the way. Through the lens of emotionally stirring post-rock, Caspian weave together moods ranging from the wide-eyed grandeur of “Flowers of Light,” the somber folk-leaning violin and acoustic guitar of “Ishmael,” even venturing into full-on metal territory on the Russian Circles-esque “Collapser.” There’s so much that happens during On Circles, between instrument harmonies, repeating patterns underneath the main song structures, and the anthemic rise and fall of the songs’ dynamics. But, the best way I can describe the success of Caspian’s use of these elements is to say that these songs feel like eating a good meal; there are a variety of textures and flavors that all compliment one another, held together as a cohesive whole by the core vision of its creator, and maybe a fancy sauce to go over the top (in Caspian’s case, a shitload of reverb and effects). I’ve heard my share of good albums from this year already, but this is the first album from 2020 I feel comfortable calling end of year list material.
The Booze: Modern Times Brewing Company’s Star Jungle
Modern Times should just go ahead and sponsor this column at this point with the amount of their product I end up reviewing here. I’m just kidding, of course.
At any rate, it’s another Modern Times week here, because they have once again produced something I’ve never seen before. Star Jungle is the brewery’s new hazy pilsner, generously hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Mosaic like an east coast IPA would but with a grassy malt backbone of a pilsner. I’m not sure how much this succeeds at being ‘hazy’ considering the beer’s pale yellow, translucent coloring, but this does succeed at being righteously tasty. This really does marry the best of a pilsner and an East Coast IPA, with hops and yeast doing a pirouette of fruit notes between the tropical fruit from the hops and the tart grape from the yeast. The malt backbone comes through with a nice, cleansing sweetness in the finish, such is especially prominent as the drink warms. This is another bold choice for Modern Times and yet once again, if anyone can pull off a hazy pilsner, its these folks.
Seriously, I’ll take my sponsorship check in the mail.
Cheers, and be good to each other,