Album Review: Can You Draw Me? | Demonic Sweaters
A departing, crying ship is disappearing in the thick fog while percussion fades in to announce the beginning of a new journey. The latest project of Demonic Sweaters that is! Taking off with ‘Can you Draw Me’. But let me introduce the band briefly. Justin Wierbonski is making experimental music that started with him playing with old cassettes (if you’re in your 30’s-40’s, you know) and a computer, and ended up with a duo of him plus Jon Michelson who joins Justin in live performances. Demonic Sweaters sounds like a garage rock band born in the early 80’s (grown in the 90’s) experimenting with sounds beyond genres.
Back to ships, ‘I Scream Pirate’ is rocking the boat like a wild rehearsal before the first big show. The heat is rising, some electronic elements here and there are grabbing my attention immediately as ‘analogue meets digital’, contrasting but very much fitting. The following ‘Serpent Rider’ is coming like a Dark Prince in some apocalyptic ‘The Crow’-like universe where every echoing kick marks his steps, making the ground shake. The air is filled with awe and wonder for the following two minutes.
A team of robots speaks in their own language in the background like a sci-fi choir processing their hard drive. ‘No Disc’ is a brother to ‘I Scream Pirate’, more deconstructed and gloomy but very well mixed with some spacy synths adding a futuristic touch to the vintage, drum & bass attitude. ‘Banananas’ make for a plucked guitar intro to ‘Digital Zoom’ which is heavy, hypnotizing and forever changing at the same time. This either needs time to grow on me or I’ll have to appreciate it for the lawless piece that it is. Totally anarchic. Then we have ‘Q1’. This belongs to the same dark world where ‘Serpent Rider’ comes from. My favourite place. It’s the year 3000, the world is rebuilding itself in slow-motion like the slow burning beat and ethers, with machines being almost identical to people.
In a scenario of a happy ending where humans prevail though, we have ‘Aether’ playing in the background as the most delightful track until now, able to put an instant smile on the face of a listener who’s gone through a lot until now. In a good way of course! The playful entrance reminds a bit of late 90’s-00's pop, like TLC's ‘No Scrubs’ was about to start playing. But make it rock.
And then, out of the blue, we get an eerie sensation coming from haunting, Japanese-style bells. It’s night-time and ‘Yongwu Road’ is airy enough to let you feel the emptiness you’re surrounded by. If you think too much you’ll find it creepy but only until the kicks appear to give flesh to this ghost of a track. Another bell is coming next in ‘Space Dingo’, but no, It’s actually a synth in disguise! The music is building itself beautifully, piece by piece, with a passionate guitar hitting right in the feels. I have to say, after a series of experimental ‘challenges’, ‘Space Dingo’ caught me completely off guard as the most emotional part of the album until now. There’s so much love and craving in there! And you know what? The Demonic Sweaters kept the best for last if you ask me. Yes. ‘I have Drawn you’ has the same emotional depth that ‘Space Dingo’ does, surfacing on the 4th minute of this 6-minute closure. We get a -3 note- dramatic melody playing a painful goodbye until the album fades out. And here I am, needing more of this depression...
Now, the Demonic Sweaters made an album that sounds vintage and rusty with sharp electronic details giving an intriguing ‘shine’ overall. The mood throughout ‘Can You Draw Me?’ is never settling so there’s no way to not find this at least interesting enough to repeat and try to understand its uniqueness. It takes you from an old garage to the underworld and from the year 3000 to the depths of your own heart, (where I’d personally like to stay a little more!). A successful paradigm of experimentation not only for fans of rock, but for the fans of experimentation itself! Very well 'played', Demonic Sweaters!
Enjoy the Demonic Sweaters: