Resplendent Casket City Wolves (Resplendent III)

[Mixx Tape; 2003]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: confessional ballads, left-field pop, experimental indie rock
Others: The Fire Show, Number One Cup, The Notwist, Fuck, Eels

I may be the worst person to do this review. Firstly, I've never forgiven Michael Lenzi for the abrupt dismantling of The Fire Show. And, furthermore, I've never accepted the musical direction of Lenzi's new work under the Resplendent moniker. The latter statement is directly related to the previous, which leads me to believe that each consecutive EP released moves further away from the disjointed guitar compositions and passionate vocals of The Fire Show. Yes, I do admit that my personal review of the first EP does in fact praise Lenzi's work, but the problem with the consecutive releases is the continuous push towards minimalist electronic musical structure. As each album is released, I've succumbed to the fact that Lenzi will never go back to the musical styles and influences of his recently extinguished Fire Show.

So with all that said and done, I will attempt to complete this review with all resentment aside and with fairness and equality. Casket City Wolves is Resplendent's third EP released in 2003. Like the previous two, this record showcases Lenzi's plummet into the abyss of electro-pop and electronica. The album is rich in dark, ambient sounds, focusing on the texture and consistency of the music. There is an aura of brooding melodrama that surrounds this particular record. It is filled with musical gravity like in "Nooneday Vultures Dub" and whispered despair in the vocals of "Chrome Attracts the Barracudas." In fact, the entire EP has an extremely linear musical sentiment, never levitating to any level of excitement or stimulation. The only pulse-rising anthem on the record is the drum and bass infused title track. Yet, Lenzi's vocal delivery remains limp and unimpressive throughout the entire album creating an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction. It also becomes an incomplete record filled with lifeless songs and unimpressive direction.

Perhaps the solution would have been to release all EPs as a single full-length album. I enjoyed the previous two releases, specifically the first. Lenzi's vision was clear when he released In A Wilderness, but it seems that most of the b-side songs have landed directly on this third EP, making it the least satisfying release to date for Resplendent. What remains true is that the musical evolution of Michael Lenzi and Resplendent must adapt to a clearer path to conjure up any interest in their electronic-influenced musical progression. The only feeling that is conjured when listening to Casket City Wolves is a sense of misdirection and uncertainty in the future of the musical passion of Resplendent.

1. Pre-dawn jitters
2. Judas priest cul de sac
3. Rise the sun (on cassette only)
4. Nooneday vultures dub
5. Chrome attracts the barracudas
6. Casket city wolves
7. Dreamers dub