i cannot tell, i do not know 5/5 BARKS.*
When someone describes themselves as “experimental” I tend to roll my eyes out of my head to the point they wind up sailing on the Schuylkill, pirating some trash barge floating on the Delaware River under the “TRENTON MAKES” bridge.
That briefly happened when I opened an email with James himself saying, “I think you’re going to want to listen to this.”.
I regret nothing, and neither will you.
I think people are attracted to this blog because of how humorous it can be. Or how brutally blunt it can be. That being said, at our core Heavy Brutus wants to tell you how a musician with fifty-eight Twitter followers can ultimately turn “I’m getting zooted with my friends and driving fast” music into, “Holy Shit…the world is real, complicated, sometimes ugly, and I’m in it.” music.
The ENTIRE album I Cannot Tell, I Do Not Know is incredibly cerebral if not psychological. Think of the album INSIDE by Bo Burnham, but if there was substantially darker verbiage that was brave enough to be realistic instead of solely pessimistic. You’re told that it’s ok to feel how you feel and to exist in it, but like the waves hitting the shore, they’ll dissipate. This of course is not a slight on Bo Burnham, but outspoken praise of the works by James Chelliah and Cam May.
Throughout the album, you are thrust from emotion to emotion, piece by piece, similarly as if you were roaming an art museum alone. It’s dark, you shouldn’t be there, but you also don’t want to leave. There is so much more to discover.
The album touches on being alone a lot. This is something each of us can relate to, especially in recent years. While I’m tired of hearing about lockdowns, COVID-19, unrest, and failures of justice, I found myself wanting to hear what this album has to say about all of it. The message? It sucks…but god-damn-it, do you need to maintain hope and do the work to keep your head straight; Because that alone is worth it.
James Chelliah can be streamed on: Spotify and Apple Music
You can follow James Chelliah on: Instagram and Twitter.
*We review music on a scale of One (1) to Five (5). 1 being our 13th reason and 5 being the Jules to our Rue. (1 bad. 5 good.) Our mascot is a dog, but don’t worry he doesn’t try to sell you crypto.