This mysterious disc turned up at the Salvation Army thrift store years ago in Livonia, MI. You’d be correct if you think I was initially suspecting it was Australian jazz-metal band Alarum upon spying the jewel case spine…but this independently released CD is a different beast altogether. It’s sort of a “local-old-timers-with-long-hair-and-hippie-vibe-playing-originals-in-town-bar” recording, but there’s sincere and often haunting performances here that almost hint that it might be an obscure ’70s vinyl rarity. I’d assume they were a Michigan (or tri-state area) band, but even that’s a guess.
I’m not finding anything on these guys via the web. No internet leads on the names of players (when googled with their respective instruments), nothing about Aster Street Studios (where it was recorded), and no threads of data related to their contact email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For a 2001 release, it’s now a sonic phantom.
Alex Ibrahim and Jeff Ledbetter are “the band” – sharing various guitars and keys – and Greg Jelinski is the “special guest” drummer. Since this suggests a studio multi-track effort, the warm tone and relaxed vibe is superb – no flashy playing, no shredding…just some dudes sounding very confident in their Neil Young-Eddie Vedder-Dead Can Dance tavern rock. It’s also rich in harmonic ideas, and darkly sensitive melodically and lyrically.
I deem this sort of stuff genuine talent and integrity. Remember Barry’s evaluation in the movie ‘High Fidelity’, after first hearing the Kinky Wizards (actually Royal Trux) demo tape ? That’s how I’d frame this obscure monster.
Alarum ‘Sineater’s Grin’ (2001)