On paper, my mind wobbled at the idea of this release. “This is a playable vinyl record made using a CD press,” proclaimed the press release which accompanied my review copy of Territories’ “Short Seller” CD Record. “CDs are dead. Long live vinyl.”
While I was curious right away, I was also hesitant. History had taught me that any new music format – no matter how good or historically appreciated or whatever – needs some time in the marketplace in order to give those fabricating the product the opportunity to iron out any and all potential flaws in mass production. In the music industry, being “first” is only a boon when you’re making the music. For better or for worse, being one of the first to present new technology can bring a lot of problems with it and Territories’ first CD Record release absolutely proves that to be true.
To its credit, the format does look pretty cool. The small vinyl disc does look like a CD (the grooves to play it appear on one side and play at 33 RPM – and the disc does look like a replica CD – but the fly in the proverbial ointment sits squarely in its sound quality. From the moment it began to play, the fidelity of the sound was poor; it was paper-thin, and yet also both muddy and tinny – somehow. Likewise, I’m not sure if it was the mix employed to record “Short Seller” or just another peril of the medium, but the sound came off as completely two-dimensional.
For the sake of making sure what I was hearing was indeed a by-product of the format and not the song, I found “Short Seller” on YouTube and discovered that I was completely correct in my impression of the single’s sound quality. Without having to try and deal with the low-fi sound of the format, “Short Seller” (the song) actually plays through very, very well; from note one, an ever-so-slight Celtic flavor informs singer Kyle Hegel’s vocal as well as Clayton MacNeil’s nasal but solid guitar tone, but “Short Seller” is a poppy street punk endeavor, overall. For about two and a half minutes, Territories walk briskly (but does not run) through some solid melodic hardcore paces, includes no surprising turns (no jaw-dropping compositional forays into new musical territory, no solos either) and then lets both the song and the single rest. It’s all just a simple, straightforward, in-and-out affair.
So what can one say about this release? Yes – the song is great but, at least for right now, the best place to hear it is online. I say that not to be overly critical, I say it because the obvious flaws in the format are impossible to deny or ignore. It can get better, but that won’t happen overnight. It will only come with more refinement, which means more bands will have to make CD Records – so we’ll see how long it takes for this going to get good.
(Pirates Press Records)
Territories – “Short Seller” – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdocd-za7K4
The “Short Seller” CD Record is out now. Buy it here, directly from the band. https://territoriescalgary.bandcamp.com/track/short-seller