Thursday, September 20, 2012

Class of 2012: Mares of Thrace - The Pilgrimage

On this record, Mares of Thrace is a duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist Thérèse Lanz and drummer Stefani MacKichan.  Over the summer, however, Stefani left the band for "the educational program of her dreams" and was replaced by Rae Amitay.

Mares of Thrace is not your typical duo.  The vocals are mostly of the yelling sort with a little growling thrown in for good measure ("Act I: David Glimpses Bathsheba" and "The Perpetrator").  Lanz plays her custom baritone guitar with considerable skill, and MacKichan handles the sticks with equal aptitude.

Standout track "The Gallwasp" finds both Mares complementing each other perfectly.  The song is catchy in an unexpected way - not vocally but musically.  This album needs more moments like this one.

The Pilgrimage starts off remarkably well, but it falters at its halfway point.  After the experimental instrumental "Triple B," we're met with a surprisingly trippy breakdown just past the middle of "The Goat Thief."

Unfortunately, the instrumental "The Three-Legged Courtesan..." never gets going.  It feels like it's building to some sort of an eruption, but it doesn't go far enough.  And sadly, it features no drums.

Although this record is front-loaded, it ends well with "...and the Bird Surgeon," The Pilgrimage's longest track.  It quietly begins with a whisper, but this doesn't last long. This Canadian twosome makes other duos like the Black Keys, for instance, sound very wimpy.

Grade: C  (76.3%)

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