Dredg – Catch Without Arms

In life, it takes more than once for the receiver to understand a message. Students read and re-read pages of philosophy texts to understand the meaning of Plato or Aristotle. The same can go for music. For me, coincidence happens more often than I brush my teeth. I believe in deja vous. I throw salt over my shoulder and clear my way from black cats. For Dredg’s new album, Catch Without Arms, I found myself in a very sticky situation. To my surprise, this album came to me twice in my life. It is understandable to hear an album more than once when one owns the album already, but when the album arrives twice in the mail then there must be some kind of sign; some unmentionable Dredg ghost that followed me around telling me to listen more closely to Catch Without Arms.

Slowly, the faint sound strings aired out my stale room with a chaotic mixture of quick-hand drumming and guitar chord repeats. My head bobbed and my feet weaved, leaving me in a blind mess of hair and hardwood floors. I danced idiotically around the house; I didn’t pay much attention to the particulars. I moved to the sound of the quick pace, one after the other, wavering from head banging rock to slow ballad- with lyrics that poetically measured out the mysteries of a broken heart. The thoughts of fate and destiny danced in my head again. In the first song “Ode to Son,” I understood why the song was an ode; “It’s gone from light to grey” – the possessive meaning the sun has gone from light to grey. The song is not about how lovely the sun is, but the ability to change the expression of a man, preferably lead singer Gavin Hayes, from sad to pleasant. The lyrics stand out, like the fine lines from their single “Bug Eyes;” “your journey back to birth is haunting you / haunting you / your departure from earth is haunting you…” suggesting the fear of life and death.

The album art is also a feat to admire. Images of different religious deities in a cartoon-like states; striking a nerve with the sacrilegious and somewhat demonic. It’s strange how the album art goes hand in hand with my destiny driven thought-process concerning the album. There are a few songs that mention religious beings ie: God, Buddha, Mary, but there is the feeling of mortality within each tune. It’s not the fundamental base of the songs, but there are some subtle details here and there that suggest some kind of fear of truth. An example of this could be in the song Planting Seeds, which on the outside suggests a return to life after a relationship, but the stanzas, can be understood to be about rebirth; “Look what I have found / a seashell in a sea of shells / I’m good at planting my own seeds / to sprout an endless hell,” powerfully describes how the mistakes in life come easily, but bring serious repercussions. 

As I listened to the last song“Matroshka,” I felt a definite end to a chapter. This song feels like one of those songs that play at the prom when the night is winding down and the feet of the soon-to-be graduates shuffle from side to side staring blankly into the eyes of their dates. It is the end of not only the album, but the end of an era. The song suggests the end of youth and childhood. And I have followed the journey of this album with questions of my own future- like these future scholars who have grown up to become what their destiny prophesized.

(Interscope Records)