By Colin Gallant
Ed Schrader has always walked a fine between surrealism and punk. His vocal and percussive savagery always threaten to overwhelm, but a contingent of demure minimalism has always kept the levee intact.
That bait-and-switch approach is replaced by a mutated melding of Schrader extremes on Riddles. The best example may be “Seagulls,” where his brooding baritone is underlaid by finger-snaps before devolving into an electronic collage, then corroding into a blitz of yelps and distortion.
Schrader’s journey with co-hort Devlin Rice has been patient, making this new chapter a logical evolution, but it would be a mistake not to note that fellow Baltimorean Dan Deacon co-wrote and produced this new batch of tracks. Deacon’s under-recognized versatility can be heard throughout, but especially on singles “Dunce” (an almost QOTSA dose of seared swagger) and “Riddles” (where Schrader humours anthemic vocals atop a meteor shower of piano).
The best thing about Riddles is that Schrader and Rice have reassembled the best parts of themselves while taking on a new dimension. New fan or old, now is the right time to pay close attention to the Music Beat.Carpark Records, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Record Review, Riddles