Old Time Relijun is a Portland, Ore.-based quartet that slings Eastern-styled string-bending and primal beats into a vat of freestyle barks and wails. Catharsis in Crisis
is the final release of the band’s long-running non-linear rock opera, “The Lost Light Trilogy,” and it proves to be an acquired taste—intricately messy, often affected artistry that weasels its way into the skull and picks relentlessly at the brain.
In the case of “Dig Down Deeper” the sexy strut of drums and bass create a navigable landscape, while “In the Crown of Lost Light” spews emotional theatrics from a winding rollercoaster of odd instrumentals. I would’ve thought such gutsy musical maneuvers prove Old Time Relijun’s understanding of profound rhythmic realms, but frontman and songwriter Arrington De Dionyso claims that, in fact, “all songs descend from fractured emanations.” Uh, okay. But sometimes that experimental philosophy becomes a little removed and insular.
The real point is that Old Time Relijun needs to be seen live for their energy and vision to transfer effectively. This is music that craves attention—it’s just that as a recording it sometimes falls short of earning it.
Old Time Relijun plays the Badlander with Danny’s Dilemma, Byron Price and The Makes Nice Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9 PM. $8/$6 in advance.