Unlike fellow Idahoans Built to Spill’s knack for pop sensibility, Caustic Resin’s music sounds not unlike master tapes of riff repetition being dragged through an oasis of crud and discarded pharmaceutical supplies. Combining the “free jam” style of hippie-burnout acts like Phish and the Spin Doctors (cough) with a garage worth of distortion, Caustic Resin paint a rust-colored portrait of downer-influenced dirges and melancholy hymns to spiraling heartache. Occasionally, this can be successful, as evidenced on 1998’s The Medicine Is All Gone, but oftentimes their material leaves one in a depressive rut. The songs are nebulous, free-floating pieces, yet they weigh about two tons each.
Although they elude easy categorization, I still have yet to meet someone who really ever wants to listen to them. The band seems to be better known for their alliance with Built to Spill — the two groups eleased an EP as one band (under the name Caustic Resin Built to Spill), and Resiner Brett Nelson has done his time in Doug Marsh’s guitar army. On their own, Caustic Resin flounder under the weight of their own songs which besides being sonically heavy, clock in at lengths of seven or eight minutes. Rarely does a band’s name perfectly fit their sound. Caustic Resin sound like what comes to mind, the hazardous final scrapings of last night’s pot binge. The Afterbirth is just than as well, something that can be thrown away, unless you want to digest it.