Sound — 7
Davenport Cabinet certainly fuses classic-influenced rock with the noodly, forward-thinking prog of guitarist Travis Stever's main band, the classification defying entity known as Coheed and Cambria. Hell, opening track Square One contains the type of riffs that were popular in the 1970s, on American AOR (album oriented rock) radio. The song and album are rooted in the past but Davenport Cabinet cuts its own path and forges its own way with the appropriately named Nostalgia in Stereo. It's impressive to note that Stever, who originally used the moniker "English Panther" for his side project, is able to cull such influence from the past; whether he is doing it on unconsciously or acting with pre-meditation is the question that doesn't necessarily demand an answer. While the title track and Thieves aren't as expansive or self-indulgent as Coheed compositions tend to be, there's a similar level of artistic guitar work on Nostalgia in Stereo (see Wrecking Ball or Rusty Knives for evidence) that many of today's younger band's simply don't have the moxie to pull off. There's a lot going on within each song, so drag out the headphones or ear buds for your iPod when listening to the album, so you can capture the essence. Also, do yourself a favor and listen to the record from start to finish if you want to experience the album they way music fans did in the era before CDs.
Lyrics — 7
Stever changed the band name to Davenport Cabinet, which references a pair of magicians named the Davenport Brothers who employed a trick where they would tie themselves up in a large cabinet filled with instruments and once the door was closed, the instruments would begin to play, leaving the audience to believe the Bros. Davenport were playing inside the box. When the cabinet was opened, their hands were still bound, with people assuming that spirits guided the instruments to make a beautiful noise. Stever also maintains that the room in his upstate New York house where he writes music for both his bands often emits noises when no one is occupying it, causing him to believe the room is his own Davenport Cabinet. While the album doesn't heavily explore such a concept in the lyrics, it's still worth nothing. Vocally, there are male and female voices and on the wah-wah flecked Milk Foot, there's a nasally, Black Sabbath-era Ozzy Osbourne timber to the vox. Once again, with Davenport Cabinet, Stever demonstrates that what's old is new again.
Overall Impression — 7
The overall oddness factor and the quirkiness that is omnipresent in Coheed and Cambria is on hiatus with Davenport Cabinet. Stever is able to establish and assert his own musical identity. It's about as far from the mainstream as Jupiter is from Earth, but it's still hanging out on the fringe and amongst the niche. It's also completely guitar-oriented, so much so that it'll have guitar store clerks scribbling tablature.