The Butterscotch Cathedral The Butterscotch Cathedral on LP
Plenty of great music has been the byproduct of a singular vision; that "man-alone" in the studio producing genius works; Brian Wilson, Curt Boettcher, Pete Townshend have all chained themselves to the mixing console (metaphorically speaking) for the sake of music as something "more." Tuscon, AZ's Matt Rendon knows plenty about being the "man-alone" in the studio. Ever since he debuted The Resonars in the early-90s - a project that started out as a band, dissolved and then just became the fictional "band" identity for Rendon alone - he's produced six albums of '60s mod-inflected power pop all by himself in his home studio. The Butterscotch Cathedral is the latest album from Rendon and his first project outside of The Resonars since 2004.
The Butterscotch Cathedral's self-titled debut is comprised of only three tracks total; one shorter song "Loud Heavy Sun" and two longer suites both nearing the 18 minute mark ("Side A" and "Lisa's Dream"). In this day and age, sidelong tracks in the context of a "rock & roll band" are scarce, and The Butterscotch Cathedral hearkens back to an era that could produce albums like Smile and Quadrophenia without batting an eye. Rendon's had two decades to familiarize himself with his home studio and on this album he's never sounded more at home. Free from the expectations of what it means to create a "Resonars album," The Butterscotch Cathedral finds Rendon experimenting and taking risks in new and exciting ways.
Rendon attacks the tunes here with renewed vigor, with every song crackling with shimmering melodic intensity and the sharpest hooks this side of The Brill Building. The tunes embedded within the albums sides ebb and flow from fiery rockers to emotive ballads, woven together in a psychedelic tapestry by Rendon and studio-mate Jim Waters. They fold and unfold onto each other like the rolling ocean tides. Songs like "Waterfall Parasol" and "Uncle Tommy's Song" are snappy power pop numbers, utilizing the Resonars model as a springboard into new territory along with the upliftingly melancholic dirge of "Saxifrage Drive" and the 17-minute "Lisa's Dream" suite on Side Two which bounces to and fro between sparkling pop, acoustic balladry, psychedelic mindfuckery and gorgeous, layered vocal harmonies.