- Drag City / BC25CD / BC25
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The trio of Andrea Belfi, David Grubbs and Stefano Pilia have brought out an album together before, but I’ve not heard that. I’m familiar with their individual work, however, and was expecting this to be more of a challenging listen than it is turning out to be from these three experimentalists. Opener ‘Charm Offensive’ is all concordant guitar downstrokes, twinkly repetitive melodies and fluid, literate drumming from Belfi, who holds everything together which an enviable ease of momentum and instinctive restraint.
In fact restraint is generally the name of the game here, on what is most definitely a rock album first and foremost. Once Grubbs starts singing in ‘Brick Dust’ it’s almost like one of Sonic Youth’s more understated Ranaldo-fronted numbers, dropping down to puttering cymbals and precisely struck unison chords. It’s sort of like they’ve taken SY’s pared-down no-rock-outs approach of the ‘Rather Ripped’ era to its next logical step. Rock songs stripped to an autumnal skeleton of awkward, beautiful, intuitive beauty, the three artists moving gracefully as a single unit. Things do get a bit more challenging on ‘Ambassador Extraordinaire’ with some slowly building drum and guitar scree, but there’s nothing happening here that your average indie rock fan would find too obtuse.
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