How do you describe a dream without losing all of the vivid and interesting details that make it worth telling in the first place? How do I describe "Songs From a Metal Case" without losing all of the vivid and interesting details that make it so worth listening to? As short as the supposed length of REM sleep, with the longest song being less than 4 minutes, "Songs From a Metal Case" is as refreshing as a short nap in the afternoon. Not lonely but definitely solitary, Dina Carpenito weaves a pillow made of cinderella dreams.
But I wouldn't want to mislead you and give you this impression that this album is cute. The delicacy and beauty of each song is matched by the strong vision that created them, the equally strong execution and, paradoxically, the apparent density. In other words, Supergrip is as complete and complex as the tangle of meanings one encounters when trying to suss out the meaning of one's dreams, and its superficial qualities only enhance Carpenito's expressive talent.
One of my favorite songs, "Hush," consists of Carpenito's voice used almost as another instrument over a harshly divine mix of piano and certain distorted sounds. While her singing is similar in other songs, it seems to be stretched across expanses even more here, giving the whole song an atmospheric quality. The only song on the album without guitar, "divine" is perhaps the best word to describe it; it brings up images in my mind of majestic Gothic cathedrals on a bright winter day, cold yet full of light. But there are so many layers of possible meanings, to use only one emotion to describe it would be a crime.
"The Bay (Softer)" is another of my favorites. With simple guitar strumming and Carpenito's clear, sweet soprano, the image of a bay indeed comes into view. Watching as an adult as if in a dream, I see my child self digging in the soft brown sand next to my friend. We are laughing, hopping from hole to hole chasing after geoducks that squirt small siphons of water at us in fright. The tide is slowing going out, and we are wandering with it. My friend moved away, and then I moved away; I've never been back to that bay since. But this song makes me remember the salt scent of the air and the feel of sand clinging to my legs, the pure joy of being an innocent kid digging for creatures that could be imaginary for all I know, since my hasty digging has never produced even a brief sighting of one. "The Bay (Softer)" seems to me to be a view of innocence from the inescapable vantage of worldliness.
Supergrip is the project of one half of Jerseyturnpike, and makes it evident how strong Carpenito's influence is on the latter. Even more achingly beautiful, Carpenito creates fascinating combinations of sound that dig strange visions from the psyche as encompassing and gentle as your best reveries. 8/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (27 June, 2006)