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The Endless Looping Game (Chronic Pink Productions)

Reviewed by DJ Johnson

Grand rock orchestrations, heavy themes, passages of fragile beauty and acres of fascinating ear candy make up Specimen 37's sophomore release, The Endless Looping Game. Though the album is quite listenable, by and large, there are a few things that could have raised it up a notch. They tend to get repetitious at times, occasionally driving a riff or even a single chord into the ground, far beyond the notion of building tension so they can release it. There are also times when it all feels a bit familiar, as if Pink Floyd may have done it before, as well as Roger Waters during the Radio Kaos phase. Don't sweat the Floyd thing, though. It's just a general feeling, and part of it is based on the extremely skillful guitar playing of Empathy (I don't name 'em, I just write about 'em). He has terrific range, playing with tasteful vibrato and clean, bluesy sustain one moment, then crunching loud and hard like a monster stomping toward the Japanese shoreline the next. This is my favorite thing about Specimen 37, and it goes for all the players. They're beyond capable. They're creative, they all have great range, and as soon as they learn when to step out of riff that's gone on long enough, they're going to make their perfect record. The Endless Looping Game isn't it, but it's pretty damned good, and it's worth your time.

© 2005 - DJ Johnson