You’ll hear talk of a fusion between jazz and rock when you hear people talking about Cleanup. My only problem with the verbiage is that there’s already something called Jazz Fusion and this is not that. The gentlemen do something both simpler and more complex than the fusion of jazz and rock ideas. Simpler because they are making rock and roll, yet made more complex by the route they take to get there. Ultimately, the only way I could describe them would be experimental; the methods implicit in the sound weave a map of outer limits. Foraging from rock’s essence, they score an easy dialectic between form and function.
One certainly hears a Jazz players’ sensibility in the incredible touch each member brings to their instrument and therefore the total sound. But rising builds recall Built to Spill, deconstructed with elan, or moments where tandem runs blend The Fucking Champs with something dreamier like Explosions in the Sky. Landon Cabarubio plays guitar with inventive dexterity, able to add to the rhythmic intensity or swim upstream with metallic alacrity. My ears first caught wind of his styles at the Jacob Furr and The Only Road debut show. He provided an array of intriguing textures, all of which deepened the songs. Before catching him on his usual instrument I had seen him on Glockenspiel, Melodica and floor tom with Madras.
After meeting him that night, I was curious to know more about his own band. Just as the 5-track Wherever Your Place Might Be is engaging and smart, so were Cabarubio and Kyle Harding when I met up with them last week. This was my first interview done at a Sushi bar, where the Sapporo and Sake were delicious. The finely sliced ingredients were combined artfully resulting in a rich and satisfying experience. Dating back three years, the current lineup with Brad Cannon on lead guitars with Cabarubio and Riley Pennock on drums has been together for a year and a half.
The album was recorded out in Alvarado on a compound of sorts, “On the fourth of July, we shot Roman Candles into a fire pit we had filled with gasoline.” You can still see the month-old excitement bending their faces into smiles recalling the middle of the recording process. You can hear the energy of an explosion on the record, just as you can hear the inspiration of that big rural sky, and throughout you can hear the cicadas. They recorded in a converted garage, described as “lofty,” architecturally rather than a measure of highmindedness. Harding adds, “It has vaulted ceilings that we used to bounce stuff around.”
Ben Hance (engineering) and Ben Napier (drums, pre-amps) helped greatly with the sessions. More recording will come, as they continue to enhance their space; but now they are looking forward to getting out on the road and bringing these songs to new crowds.