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- Brokeback And The Black Rock by Brokeback
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Brokeback began as the solo project of Tortoise/Eleventh Dream Day/Pullman’s Douglas McCombs and has evolved over time to a full band, incorporating members of such ace Chicago outfits as the highly underrated Tight Phantomz, Pinebender and Head of Skulls. I’m sad to say I’ve not checked out any of their/his previous efforts, but on this one here they’re playing some kind of progressive alt-country with lazy surfy guitar and smooth, slinky slacker grooves.
Tortoise are an obvious jumping-off point but this is much more casual and less frantic and unpredictable than them, with more of an Americana leaning. There’s moments which are reminding me of Valley of the Giants, Calexico, Ennio Morricone, Earth and the like, but the tasteful tremoloed guitar lines are bringing to mind soft surf types like PJ & Artie, The Shadows or more recently Plantagenet 3. It’s all got quite a dreamy, silky, and slightly ‘80s feel about it which brings to mind last year’s excellent ‘Inner Tube’ LP from Mark McGuire & Spencer Clark, which can only be a good thing.
When it gets going the combination of shuffling slow grooves and uplifting guitar shred counter each other to great effect, and the playing is exemplary throughout, sometimes bringing to mind Phil Manley, other times Carlos Santana, others still The Allman Brothers. It’s an inviting and totally enjoyable update of classic sounds, basically. Kim says it sounds like Friends of Dean Martinez. Totally worth checking out.
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