31st March 2015 – Self-released
02. Handmade Flaws
When it comes to supergroups, there can’t be many more tantalising than Spylacopa were when they broke cover back in 2008. The brainchild of Candiria guitarist John LaMacchia, their short, sharp EP also featured appearances from The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s Greg Puciato, ISIS bass player Jeff Caxide and Julie Christmas of Made Out Of Babies. Yet in 2009, tragedy struck the band when drummer Troy Young was shot and killed in his own apartment. The band, and the recordings that had been completed for Parallels, were subsequently mothballed.
But LaMacchia was not done with Spylacopa, and after a pause he went about quietly completing the project, and releasing it with relatively minimal fanfare. Of the ‘names’ from the original EP, Greg does not contribute to Parallels, but there is still plenty to interest those who had their appetites whetted by that initial release.
Parallels hits the ground running with “Hexes“, a relatively straightforward stomper that possess a great stop-start riff and a slight sprinkling of psychedelia – neatly previewing what the rest of the album has in store. Spylacopa may be somewhat less headbending than the pioneering and similarly reactivated math-monsters Candiria – whose drummer Ken Schalk and bassist Michael MacIvor also contribute to Parallels – but LaMacchia still injects enough imagination into these tracks to lift them well above the humdrum.
The remainder of the album sees the group tinkering with the proportions of the elements laid down in “Hexes“, with some being more spaced out and trippy, and others turning up the heaviness. Julie Christmas contributes vocals to two tracks – “Handmade Flaws” and “Insolent” – veering between sugar-sweet angelic tones and all out feral screaming in a most compelling fashion.
Elsewhere, “Betrayer” sees the band at their most spaced out, with long, drawn out notes and doomy tempo. Whilst “Troy“, an instrumental presumably named in tribute to their fallen comrade, is surprisingly upbeat and energetic. Pleasingly, the main motif of the track is then given a gentler, more reflective interpretation for “Reprise“, bringing the album to a shimmering close.
Parallels, therefore, is a bit of an unexpected surprise. A case could certainly be made that Spylacopa is the more accessible way to experience the obvious and potent talents that LaMacchia puts to more challenging use in Candiria – but at the same time, Parallels is certainly strong enough for Spylacopa to stand on their own merits, not just serving as a stopgap while we wait for the much-anticipated new Candiria output. And with work apparently already underway on the next album, we hopefully won’t have to wait quite so long for the next installment.