ALBUM REVIEW: “Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy” by Dredg

May 03. 2011 | By Valerie Veteto

Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy
[Superball Music]

“I can lie/I can lie/If it makes you feel better…”

Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy is Dredg’s 5th studio album release in the past 13 years. They have a new producer on board who helped with a few of the songs, the hip-hop innovator Dan The Automator (Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030).

There are some marriages between producer and band that create startling musical landscapes unforeseeable by any critic or record company CEO. David Bottrill and Tool on Aenima is one such explosion of everything going right. This, unfortunately, didn’t happen here. Dredg is recognized for their prog-rock concept albums – a band steeped in abstract messages, sweeping guitars and vocals, and under-the-radar appeal. In 2005 they put out the album Catch Without Arms with the hit “Bug Eyes.” Produced by the more fitting Terry Date (Dream Theater, Deftones), it gained new fans while satisfying die-hards.

In Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, the hip-hop beats and influence from Dan The Automator is obvious and not really welcome. Lead singer Gavin Hayes adopts a falsetto voice for the majority of songs, and the guitars just don’t riff as hard as they used to. “Kalathat” is an acoustic ballad with a haunting string presence that’s worth checking out, but still isn’t prototypical Dredg.

I hate sounding this bitter and disappointed, but dammit, I am. If you’re a fan of Dredg you probably shouldn’t listen to Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy. They went in a new and quirky direction that this fan just couldn’t understand.

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