Album Review: Attic Ted – “Kafka Dreaming”

Attic Ted – Kafka Dreaming

By Jay Armstrong

What mutant bastards growing up only on Negativland and Jodorowsky made Kafka Dreaming? I mean what is this nightmare? It feels as though I popped a handful out of a paper bag of random uppers and downers only to find myself trapped inside Pinballz as they collectively kicked in. Can I even remember the last time I had to take a smoke break in the middle of a record? What is my name? Can I still spell it? This is neither the first time nor the last this album plays at my house.

I will never say there is a lack of bands taking risks. Anyone else from the midwest will back me up on saying there are more people banging on random objects for rhythm while thinking a kazoo is a novel inclusion on a dream-pop song than this world ever needed. I will though say, bands taking risks now who value the noise they make along with the expression they find through it, bands with the ability and drive to make their ambitions tangibly enjoyable, are worthy of the highest appreciation. All the more considering how most outlying bands of the stranger kind covet a martyrs need to feel they are sacrificing themselves under the brutal heal of a world incapable to accept their lack of ability as being poetically artistic. This band may not conform to the norm, what they create makes any consideration of whether they could irrelevant. We must be reminded from time to time art can still find avenues of expression worthy of the path less traveled. Attic Ted do just that. To speak of individualism expressed among bands—in our corner of the world possibly more than anywhere else—is on par with a vague understanding of how Dropkick Murphy fans choose the perfect outfit to catch one of their shows in. It is a skill in and of itself to stand outside of the fold while being an integral part of it. What I’m getting at is that Kafka Dreaming—Attic Ted’s eleventh release in seventeen years—is a love letter to the possibilities of defining one’s own boundaries over succumbing to expectations; even if those expectations are self-imposed. This album is a testament of the distance covered and growth felt on their journey.

The old saying goes, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, create a door.” Attic Ted seem to feel those words as a challenge. What fans of the band have been drawn to—be it their early days of rockabilly undertones dissected with Frankensteinian madness to their Richard Hell via early eighties Athens,GA rhythmically embodied asymmetrical smoke in the wind archaic dance which becomes them more with each year— all of that comes to fruition on Kafka Dreaming. Rarely do bands develop where an album gives off the sense of arrival—think The Stones on Let It Bleed /Charles Mingus on Pithecanthropus Erectus—Attic Ted somehow linearly give us that feeling with each album they put out.

Recorded in New York City by Paul D. Millar. Self-released on Pecan Crazy Records. Attic Ted continue being the scotch of rock n roll; either they are your drink of choice or they are not. There is no in-between. They kick the album open with “Skip to the Lulu.” If you still find yourself engaged when the second track, “Come Inside” kicks on then more than likely they have won you over forever. Hot, Cold, no one can be lukewarm about Attic Ted. That is the most honorable aspect to their sound.

If you have not caught them live yet, they certainly are on our shortlist of must-sees. Everything about them is legitimately unique. Kafka Dreaming is no exception. Grab a copy for yourself first chance you get.

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