Songs Of Eta Carinae

Orbit Service

Beta-lactam Ring, 2006

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


If Orbit Service’s debut effort Twilight took pleasure in playing wicked games on its mind and have the mental torment do the hurting, then the follow up Songs Of Eta Carinae likes gnashing itself and enjoying the superficial pain that its many wounds brings. This time, the pain is direct and the affliction is very visible.

The suffering on Twilight never burdened the listener, with its distress controlled and almost always simmering down just when it reached the boiling point. But my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Eta Carniae is full of crazy anguished outpourings. This record is less about music experimentation than about the experimentation with the kind of atmosphere it creates, and that atmosphere is mortified throughout.

Musically much cruder than its predecessor, Eta Carinae sounds like an album from the very early day Pink Floyd or even early Peter Gabriel, where the complexity of songs meant not the intricacy in the texture of music, but the inexplicable savage eccentricity it exuded. This is an outright old-school prog-rock record for the abnormally disturbed.

There is no poignant melancholy of Twilight on this record. Everything here is so troubled that it is impossible not to be affected by it. For a clearer picture of how this Eta Carinae exhibits vague feelings of utter discomfort, take “Asphyxia,” an 11-minute long saga that starts with a simple laid back drumbeat that seems to go on for eternity, as the track hardly seems to develop any further complications. The hypnotizing drums and singer Randall Fraiser’s spookily calm and collected singing in absolute monotone elicits a strange image of witnessing agony through a glass window, and experiencing the same discomfort, not by watching it, but by being guilty of being on the other side of the glass.    

On other instances, Orbit Service’s distraught mind is not as calm. On “Wolves,” the chorus is almost like an agonizing scream calling attention to its plight. On “Truth Eludes Me,” the final words of the song “Truth eludes me, why do you haunt me?” come out as a passionate yell with the exploding music gazing with fiery eyes that burn with uncontrollable angst.

Orbit Service seems to have worked on Eta Carinae without putting any restrictions on itself. Though on one hand, this has not tied them to follow a fixed pattern or a predictable path, on the other, this freedom has driven them to the point of over-indulgence. This over-indulgence could be viewed as genius or mere eccentricity that cannot be made sense of; it all depends upon how the album connects to you.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Beta-lactam Ring, and is used for informational purposes only.