Schrodinger's Cat - Potter's Field


Year of Release: 1998
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:21:00

I happened across Schrodinger's Cat (the band) while searching for information about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Schrodinger's Cat, two theories associated with quantum mechanics. My search engine returned a couple of links with intriguing snippets of information about the band and their self-produced second album, Potter's Field, so I decided to investigate. Well, I'm glad that I did because Potter's Field is superb.

Schrodinger's Cat ties together eclectic influences to create a sound very much their own. Hints of Rush, Kansas, and Genesis surface occasionally, but Schrodinger's Cat's earthy, forthright style derive more from Marillion, Saga, and Happy The Man. Opting for an uncomplicated, melodic approach, Schrodinger Cat uses acoustic guitars, keyboards, and emotive vocals to drive their songs. Happily, this is a great choice because the songs are engaging, intimate, and memorable, sticking with the listener long after the cd has finished playing.

"Freedom" opens Potter's Field with Michael Horne's a cappella vocals, decrying the plight of the oppressed. Almost mournful in tone, "Freedom" is made particularly spooky by John Balducci's tattoos that call to mind images of men carrying guns who enforce the political will of oppressive governments. "Twelve Strings" is a brief instrumental that serves as a prelude to "Same Old Storm", a rolling ode to the human spirit and heritage that is neatly divided by a sinister-sounding "storm" section which features some fine unison playing by guitarist Paul Bremner and bassist Mike Armstrong. "All I Need" sounds so much like Genesis' "Take Me Home" that one expects to hear Phil Collins doing the singing, but Michael Horne takes over and quickly dispels any Genesian notions. "Headline," an indictment of journalists and media manipulation, provides the rocking-est moments on Potter's Field, pitting hard rock verses against acoustic choruses and harmony vocals from Horne and Susan Davis.

Proceedings take a melancholy turn for the remainder of the album, but this isn't a bad thing because these songs are the best to be found on Potter's Field. Affective and thoughtful, each reveals the true depth of the talent of Schrodinger's Cat. "Butterfly," a ballad for a departed love, uses a sparse piano-guitar arrangement and Michael Horne's plaintive vocals to create a real sense of sadness and hope. "See Through Me," a study of ambition and self-interest, rolls menacingly along on Armstrong's bass and Bremner's guitars and features a progressive mid-section that sounds very much like Crafty Hands-era Happy The Man. "Potter's Field" portrays a ghost's sad plight, the shade of a man who died in war and buried in an unmarked grave. And, like every good artist should, Schrodinger's Cat saves the best for last: "Cry" takes a very personal look at family abuse and how it can pass from one generation to the next. Once again, a simple and affective piano melody provides the basis for Horne's thoughtful verses, only to be countered by majestic melodic rock that drives home the choruses, which then gives way to the subtle, unexpected ending.

Although released back in 1998, Potter's Field is a well-produced, well-played album that is as technically and - most importantly - artistically satisfying as any current release. Hell, I like it so much that it almost never leaves my cd player and, if it were released this year, I would name Potter's Field to my Top Ten list for 2002. As is, Schrodinger's Cat (now split up) was an immensely talented unit who never received the attention they deserved, and Potter's Field is a unique and marvelous testament of that talent. Look this one up, gang.

As a footnote, several members of Schrodinger's Cat are presently collaborating to put together a new album, and guitarist Paul Bremner is making the rounds as a member of IZZ. [Although as of Dec 2009, that doesn't seem to have materialized -ed.]


Tracklisting:
Freedom (5:54) / Twelve Strings (2:01) / Same Old Storm (5:56) / All I Need (6:31) / Headline (4:52) / Butterfly (5:16) / See Through Me (6:11) / Potter's Field (5:33) / Cry (6:07)

Musicians:
Michael Horne - vocals, keyboards
Paul Bremner - Guitars
Mike Armstrong - bass
John Balducci - drums
P. J. Muller - keyboards

Discography:
Schrodinger's Cat (1995)
Potter's Field (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: David Cisco
Score:
Artist website: www.cdbaby.com/schrodinger/
Hits: 528
Language: english

  

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