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Tag: supergroup

Album Review: David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant [4AD/Todo Mundo]

As with so many collaborations betweem famous musicians, having David Byrne and St. Vincent working together seems like a great idea on paper. In many ways, you can envision Byrne as a mentor to Annie Clark, a guiding spirit who’s been through the ringer a time or two with the Talking Heads and other projects, taking a talented young prodigy and trying to mold her on a path towards legendary success. Lord knows he doesn’t need the career boost and could probably get away with playing his classic songs for the rest of his life. Certainly Byrne’s work with Brian Eno has been the most highly regarded of his collaborations, with 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts being just the sort of strange, boundary-pushing effort to inspire a whole new generation of artists. He’s made plenty of great records since then, though arguably nothing will ever quite match his streak of greatness in the ’80s. As for clark, her ever-evolving sound has only become more potent with time, and the latest St. Vincent album Strange Mercy reaches a new peak of her songwriting and guitar skills. She doesn’t really need any favors either at this point, though the opportunity to work with Byrne is one that few smart artists would pass up.

But maybe it is that lack of necessity that makes their album together Love This Giant so comfortable and safe. Instead of taking the license of such a project and running wild with sonic experiments, what we get instead are concise pop songs punched up with a backing brass band. Such a lack of liberty would be more forgivable if the songs themselves were more compelling and memorable, but unfortunately that’s not the case either. The album’s opening song and first single “Who” is actually a very encouraging start, though it is less addictive and inspired than Byrne’s last big single with Brian Eno, 2008’s “Strange Overtones.” A less apparent highlight on the record is “Weekend in the Dust,” taking a canned beat and the funky horn section and turning them into a melody that feels rooted in ’80s or ’90s funk or R&B. It represents a markedly different approach for Clark, and even her halting Janet Jackson-esque lead vocals don’t sound like anything she’s done before. It’s the sort of boundary pushing this album could have used more of. Actually, it’s probably more of Clark’s take on some of Byrne’s known sounds, which then makes it a shame when he doesn’t really adopt much of her creative guitar work. In fact, her guitar is either absent or put behind brass for virtually the entire record, which is like having a million dollars stored in a safe at home but refusing to spend a dime of it even though you’re in debt. “The Forest Awakes” is about as guitar-heavy as this record gets, and even that provides meager offerings.

Yet it’s still Clark that comes off best on Love This Giant, and whether that has to do with songwriting, melody or general enthusiasm for the project is up for debate. Byrne mostly sounds bored, almost like he’s run out of things to say. Instead of using “I Should Watch TV” as a clever way to comment on today’s pop culture, he uses it to analyze exactly why he’s compelled to do as the song title suggests. You could say that it’s a noble search for deeper meaning, but the melody suggests a playfulness that’s simply not present otherwise. While the brass backing band is something of a bolder choice for both artists involved, one of the real tragedies is how whitewashed and bland they come off sounding. That’s especially true on tracks like “Dinner For Two” and “Lazarus,” both of which could use a little extra pep in their step and injections of instrumental creativity. Thanks to an additional assist from Antibalas and The Dap-Kings, “The One Who Broke Your Heart” is a surprising late album treat and probably the best use of brass on the entire record.

A large part of the disconnect on Love This Giant, instrumental and otherwise, probably stems from how it was pieced together. Recorded over three years in a variety of studios with files passed back and forth between Byrne and Clark, you can sort of tell that not everybody was in the same room or studio when this was created. Such are the potential perils of long distance collaboration. Inspired as this team up sounded initially, both Byrne and St. Vincent have done and will do bigger and better things down the line. Perhaps if they decide to do this again, as Byrne has done with Eno, things will turn out much differently and for the better.

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Who

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Album Review: Wild Flag – Wild Flag [Merge]

More times than not, when an artist or band uses the phrase “indefinite hiatus”, it’s a police way of saying that they’re breaking up. Sometimes it really is just a temporary break from making music with the same people, as bands like Broken Social Scene and TV on the Radio have proven more recently. Whether they just want a couple years to decompress or pursue solo/side projects away from the main band, a hiatus is a way to explore those options. For Sleater-Kinney, their indefinite hiatus certainly seemed like it would be brief. Corin Tucker wanted to take some time and really focus on being a new mother, while Carrie Brownstein took to blogging for NPR and doing occasional comedy sketches with her friend and SNL player Fred Armisen. Janet Weiss, not content to sit around on the sidelines, joined up with Stephen Malkmus as part of the Jicks in a move that seemed almost like an afterthought. To put it more bluntly, none of the S-K trio were doing anything they couldn’t give up at a moment’s notice to bring the band back together. In the last year or so though, there’s been something of a sea change. Brownstein got more heavily into acting, both starring in a movie with The Shins/Broken Bells’ James Mercer and taking her team-up with Armisen to a new level via the IFC series “Portlandia”. Meanwhile Tucker apparently spent just enough time raising a family that the music itch struck her again, so instead of going for the reunion, she formed The Corin TUcker Band and crafted a record of alt-country songs. It’s certainly a long way from the brash and fiery punk rock that Sleater-Kinney brought to the table. And with Stephen Malkmus getting Pavement back together for a year of touring and shows, Weiss was seemingly in the wind for that period of time. Well, that small gap quickly vanished when about a year ago Brownstein took to her “Monitor Mix” NPR blog to announce the existence of Wild Flag, a new band with a lineup that included Weiss on drums, along with The Minders’ Rebecca Cole on keyboards and Helium’s Mary Timony on guitar/vocals. It’s now been a year since their formation, and having played a number of shows in that time, the band is now celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album.

It’s easy to pick apart Wild Flag based upon the sum of its parts. That’s really the case with any band that might otherwise be considered a supergroup. Part of you wants to question if this new band lives up to the legacy of the talent behind it. What’s fascinating about Wild Flag is that their debut record appears to be most concerned with the legacy that other groups have left behind. So many bands new and old continue to prime the pump by exploiting a previously established sound from a previous decade by trying to put a fresh spin on it. The Killers had 80s synth pop when they first arrived and created a new wave of new wavers. Bands like Japandroids and Yuck are some of the more forceful acts to bring back some serious 90s nostalgia in the last couple years. Innovative and forward-thinking groups are quickly vanishing as nostalgia grabs hold and comes in waves. Are there any original ideas left out there? That’s a question for another day, because Wild Flag is the antithesis of that. Unlike so many of these bands that make music or become popular simply because a certain type of music is the current flavor of the month, Wild Flag plays it smarter on their debut, something you’d hope would be the case given that all the members are music veterans. Sure, you can hear flashes of that in-your-face punk rock that Sleater-Kinney was best known for on a track like “Boom”, which in this particular case also comes infused with a healthy dose of keyboard. You can almost hear Brownstein sneering behind the microphone at times, which certainly invigorates a couple tracks, particularly the crunchy and intense “Racehorse”. What’s missing as a counterpoint to that is the presence of a wailing, overly dramatic Corin Tucker belting something out to the rafters. Mary Timony’s approach is far more relaxed classic rock than it is punk rock, and it’s what really pushes some genre shifts on the record. With Brownstein and Timony essentially switching off lead vocal duties from track to track, pinning Wild Flag in a particular corner becomes nearly impossible. The energetic and fun post-punk of opening track “Romance” gets quickly tempered by the much more relaxed 60s girl group stylings of Timony’s “Something Came Over Me” before Brownstein exits out the other end with the hard-hitting punk of “Boom”. Technically it’s a miscalculation to disrupt the pace of the record so early on like that, but all three tracks are solid in their own right so that makes it easier to take.

Timony pushes a psychedelic angle into “Glass Tambourine” while also simultaneously channeling a bit of The Breeders vocally, and it winds up being her best contribution on the record. Any time Wild Flag takes some extra time to extend a track beyond 4 minutes it turns into a rewarding experiment in which fascinating musical avenues are explored and all the players prove their worth instrumentally. Janet Weiss in particular stands out with her intense drumming skills, but then again rare is the occasion when Weiss’ talent doesn’t shine as bright or brighter than her peers. She remains one of the best percussion weapons making music today. Of course Rebecca Cole is no slouch either, even if her contributions via keyboard and backing vocals are likely to be the ones that attract the least amount of attention. She’s essential to the Cars-esque new wave vibe of “Endless Talk” and provides a sharp anchor to Timony’s eccentricities on “Electric Band”. If you want to hear the band operating at full power, in which the foursome work best as a cohesive unit but are each given an individual chance to shine, you can’t miss with “Racehorse”. It uses every second of 6.5+ minutes to exploit pure guitar shredding, keyboard jamming, drum fills that overflow, and a vocal performance so visceral that impressive only begins to describe it. For those fleeting moments, you forget entirely the names and the history of the people within this band and just surrender to raw talent. In an ideal world, Wild Flag would give you that same feeling on every song.

The best thing about both Wild Flag the band and “Wild Flag” the album is how purely emotional everything is. The goal is ultimately lack of control – the ability to simply let yourself loose and have some fun. Here is a band that thrives on impulse rather than careful plotting, allowing the wind to dictate the sonic direction they’ll head next with little care if it’s prudent to do so. There’s nothing on the album that’s outright bad, but there are a couple small moments that seem just a touch out of place compared to everything else. Those are the times when the band doesn’t fully gel, primarily derived from trying to bring the two distinct sensibilities of Brownstein and Timony into one singular vision. Assuming this is more than just a one-off effort, those sorts of issues should resolve themselves the more time they spend together as a band. So long as they don’t lose that fresh sense of excitement and wonder, Wild Flag could easily become the sort of band that makes you forget about where they came from and instead hope they continue to show progress and brilliance for years to come.

Wild Flag – Romance

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Album Review: Middle Brother – Middle Brother [Partisan]

Here are the fine details that you’re going to read in most every discussion of the band Middle Brother. The trio of guys in this band are the respective frontmen for three separate and more popular bands; John McCauley is from Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith is from Dawes and Matthew Vasquez is from The Delta Spirit. They first got together in late 2009 after Deer Tick and Dawes toured together and had a lot of fun doing so. McCauley and Goldsmith would later get together in Nashville during some downtime with their respective bands and invited Vasquez to join them in the studio. What they really liked about the dynamic was that all of them pushed each other to become better musicians. Originally they called themselves MG&V, the simple combination of first letters from their last names, and played a secret, unannounced show under that moniker during SXSW last spring. It was also around that time period they began to record a debut album, which is what is now showing up in stores this week as the self-titled “Middle Brother”. Given that it’s been about a year and a name change since this “supergroup” first clued everyone in to their existence, what’s been the hold up? Scheduling problems apparently. The guys wanted to have proper time to go out and tour to promote the record but were all busy with their main bands and couldn’t quite commit to it last year. This year though is a different story, and the record is arriving right at the cusp of a cross-country tour that, naturally, takes them right back to SXSW where they first debuted in 2010.

If you’re familiar with all three of the “main bands” Middle Brother pulls its members from, then you’ll know almost exactly what to expect from this trio. The group dynamic is pretty even-handed, in that McCauley, Goldsmith and Vasquez all take turns playing various instruments and handling lead vocals. And even when one guy is on lead vocals, it’s reasonable to expect that the other two aren’t far behind with some strong backing harmonies. The sound is very Americana and rootsy, a healthy alt-country twang amidst a couple of more pop-driven songs. On paper it’s easy to see why Middle Brother should work given the talents behind it, but what truly impresses is just how well it really does. For their very first album after not a long time working together, the album sounds like they’ve been doing it for years, not weeks. Part of that surely comes from being musicians and having their own separate full time bands, but whenever you’re working with new people there are always some hurdles to go over in trying to play to everyone’s best strengths. This is extremely strong from the get-go though, and that lack of a learning curve only immerses you in the listening experience that much more.

“Daydreaming” starts the album with some quiet and folksy acoustic guitar that’s nothing short of lovely, save for the lyrics that begin on the lines, “Early in the mornin’, too hungover to go back to sleep/every sound is amplified, heavy lights so dizzying”. The song is one of many on the record that mentions being hungover, but really once you get past that first half of the verse it becomes about pining after the woman you love, about wishing she could be right next to you in the times she’s not there. The well-placed harmonies only add to the track’s inherent beauty, and one gets the impression that if you listened to this song while staring out the window on a sunny spring day that there wouldn’t be a better soundtrack. Neil Young and Band of Horses meet on “Blue Eyes”, a mid-tempo alt-country song with a touch of player piano and lyrics about what some might consider to be the ideal woman. Sadness permeates “Thanks for Nothing”, an acoustic ballad directed at a heartbreaker, a woman that left a poor guy in ruins. “Now the only girls I meet all look for hearts that they can fix/but mine is more like a kid that has gone missing,” Goldsmith sings in a very defeated way. For every person that has had a partner you were in love with just crush that in the cruelest way possible, there is meaning to be pulled from this song. Things get genuinely fun on the song “Middle Brother” (on the album “Middle Brother” from the band Middle Brother…just to fully clarify), a strong country guitar groove that brings everything from handclaps to tambourines and piano. It’s a rollicking track that’s about being the “forgotten” middle child in a family and doing things like learning to fly an airplane to “make my mama proud” and “get my dad to notice me, even if I have to fly it into the ground”.

The centerpiece of the album is a cover of The Replacements’ “Portland”, which is nice in part because there aren’t nearly enough good Replacements covers out there (seriously). Middle Brother does a fairly standard rendition of the song, but the acoustic guitars shine just a little bit brighter in the mix to give it a very 2011 feel rather than the slightly muddier 1997 original. First single “Me Me Me” is a fast-paced and super fun, combining some serious piano pounding, furiously strummed acoustic guitars, and a raw vocal performance from McCauley. The harmonies are ripe and so is the hook, to the point where this is probably one of the best songs of 2011 thus far. If you want to be sold on this band, “Me Me Me” is where you’ll cash that check. Things take an interesting turn on “Someday”, which with its 60s girl group backing “oohs” and “aahs” and Vasquez’s throaty vocals sounds a lot like a throwback pop number rather than the Americana material that’s come before it. The song is great and worthy of being a future single, but it feels out of character compared to the rest of the record. Then again, if Middle Brother is about allowing the personal styles of all three band members to properly mesh in one singular album, that is a touch of Delta Spirit and makes sense from that viewpoint. Goldsmith delivers his most powerful and intense performance on the six minute “Blood and Guts”, slowly stirring himself into a rage as his relationship quickly disintegrates around him. “I just wanna get my fist through some glass/I just wanna get your arm in a cast/I just want you to know that I care,” he says just before his voice soars out of him with a force that truly does feel gutteral and blood curdling. There’s genuine emotion pouring out of this song and sad though it may be, without a doubt people will strongly identify with it. After the portrait of hard life touring that is “Mom and Dad”, “Million Dollar Bill” closes out the record in acoustic ballad style, with all three guys taking the lead on separate verses and holding up backing harmonies. It’s just a little bit lackluster of a way to end things, but beautiful nevertheless.

When talking about Middle Brother, there are a few bands you can look to for comparison. The Band, The Traveling Wilburys, Crosby Stills and Nash (sometimes Young), and their more modern-day counterparts Monsters of Folk are all apt names to be throwing around here. Funny also that each one of those is a supergroup of sorts with that Americana-type sound. So what Middle Brother is doing on their self-titled debut can’t particularly be called unique. What makes a project like this special are the talents involved and whether or not they’re put to full use. In this case, where not only is there relative equality between band members but also each has their own moment in the spotlight, things seem to have turned out exceptionally well. These guys really do push one another to be better in one aspect or another. There are many moments of brilliant lyrical content and/or vocals that reach exactly the right pitch to perfectly convey the points that are trying to be made. For a record about the overused subjects of women, drinking and life on the road, McCauley, Goldsmith and Vasquez prove there’s more that can still be said in a relatively original way. Is Middle Brother a better project than the three bands each of their respective members came from? Yes in some aspects, and no in others. It’s a highly worthwhile side project, really. Like all those other aforementioned “supergroups”, you can’t deny there’s magic when these three get together, but chances are they wouldn’t exist without their regular day jobs. So after some touring, McCauley will return to Deer Tick and Goldsmith to Dawes and Vasquez to Delta Spirit and such, and they’ll all put out potentially great new records that way. Then somewhere be it a year or five from now, they’ll get back to this collaborative project and hopefully the same chutzpah of this first record will continue on the second. In the meantime, be sure to see Middle Brother as they tour this spring. McCauley and Goldsmith are pulling double duty as Deer Tick and Dawes are playing full sets on the tour as well. Have a look at the dates below, and pick up the album – it’s a folk-driven delight.

Middle Brother – Me Me Me
Middle Brother – Middle Brother

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Tour Dates
March 2 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club *
March 3 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club *
March 4 – Providence, RI – Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel *
March 5 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *
March 6 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom *
March 9 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts *
March 10 – Rochester, NY – Water Street Music Hall *
March 11 – Toronto, ON – Opera House (with Deer Tick only)
March 12 – Chicago, IL – Metro *
March 13 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre *
March 14 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
March 15 – Lawrence, KS – The Granada Theater *
March 17 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
March 18 – Austin, TX – Brooklyn Vegan, Partisan Records, and KF Records Present: A Free SXSW Day Party at Swan Dive / Barbarella (SXSW)
March 19 – Austin, TX – Auditorium Shores/Ground Control Touring Showcase (SXSW)
April 3 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent ^
April 4 – Santa Cruz, CA – Moe’s Alley ^
April 5 – Santa Barbara, CA – Soho %
April 6 – Costa Mesa, CA – Detroit Bar %
April 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo %
April 8 – San Diego, CA – The Loft %

* = with Deer Tick and Dawes
^ = with Blake Mills
% = with Jonny Corndawg

Album Review: Blue Water White Death – Blue Water White Death [Graveface]

If two individuals break away from their well-respected bands to form a new one together, does it constitute the formation of a supergroup? It’s a good question, though the answer is most likely the easiest by simply saying yes. With just two people though, it might be more accurate to call them a superduo rather than a supergroup. This week in superduo formations, Blue Water White Death is the name that Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater and Jaime Stewart of Xiu Xiu came up with for their new project. Their self-titled record is out this week, and if you’re a fan of either of these two guys, there’s something for you here.

Xiu Xiu are a notoriously tough band to get into, primarily because Jaime Stewart seems to really like abstract and challenging melodies. He’s not afraid to get weird, and that’s been to both the benefit and detriment of the band. Shearwater, on the other hand, are well known for their carefully and gorgeously composed songs, implementing strings and a host of other instruments to get the point across. It’s highly dramatic and Jonathan Meiburg’s voice can go from cowering to soaring at the flip of a switch. What’s pretty fascinating as well is how much Meiburg and Stewart sound exactly alike the majority of the time, though Stewart seems to prefer yelping and screaming rather than smoothly soaring. That’s probably because it serves his end purpose better. Vocals aside, it would seem that these two guys and their bands have little in common with one another. so how a collaboration would play out is an interesting concept. Blue Water White Death turns that hypothetical situation into a reality, and surprisingly it plays out how you might expect it to.

Beautiful experimentation are the two words to best describe Blue Water White Death’s debut, as Meiburg carefully handles the beautiful part and Stewart takes care of the experimental part. The album’s first single and longest song at 6+ minutes is “Song for the Greater Jihad”, and it perfectly sums up what to expect from the record. There’s a quietly picked acoustic guitar that comes across as shimmering, and matched with Meiburg’s delicately forceful vocals it could be a Shearwater song. But then there are the obtuse and loud bass guitar hits every so often, coming across like somebody is smashing the guitar with a mallet. There’s also a power drill that makes a violent appearance somewhere close to the middle of the track, for no apparent reason than to create more odd cacophony. These things don’t exactly ruin the track, but they do feel just a little forced, like they both listened to the song and said, “it sounds too precious and clean”. That seems to be the motive or manifesto for most of the record, calm beauty occasionally interrupted by noises that clearly don’t belong. Over the album’s 8 tracks, that pattern is largely repeated time and time again, to the point where things start to blend together a little and standout moments are hard to come by. “Grunt Tube” is nice, and paired up with “Song for the Greater Jihad” they form a nice 1-2 punch. The same goes for the two closing tracks “Gall” and “Rendering the Juggalos”, the former taking on some more psychedelic elements while the latter splices together a series of noises to excellent effect. In between those relative bookends there’s a gray area that’s more okay than it is great.

Meiburg and Stewart chose to name their band after a documentary about shark hunters, and listening to this Blue Water White Death debut makes perfect sense when considered in that context. Meiburg represents the Blue Water half of the band, crafting melodies that soundtrack the relative calm and mystery of the sea. Stewart takes the form of White Death, like a predator shark prowling those quiet waters and attacking prey at will. That being said, the combination may be unique but it lacks real purpose. Not much comes off as revelatory or particularly worth your time, especially when comparing this project with the two members’ main bands. Perhaps the album’s problems have something to do with the fact that they wrote and recorded it in only a week, entering the studio with no instruments or set plans. It’s no wonder that most of the tracks feel somewhat haphazardly thrown together or not entirely complete. The thought was good, the execution was not. For fans of Shearwater and/or Xiu Xiu, Blue Water White Death is something worth at least giving a try, just to see if it strikes you in the right way. Most everyone else will struggle and probably give up on it. This debut has given us enough of a reason to see that the pairing of these two dynamic artists can yield strong results, it just might take a little bit of time and care to nurture the project into something healthier for mass consumption.

Blue Water White Death – Song for the Greater Jihad

Buy “Blue Water White Death” from Graveface Records

Album Review: The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards [Warner Bros/Third Man]

Jack White is a music-making machine. He’s probably not taken a single day off in the last few years. Between The White Stripes and The Raconteurs and his newest project The Dead Weather, it’s been an endless cycle of touring and recording. Given that the new Dead Weather album comes out a mere 10 months after their debut “Horehound” and that it follows a tour supporting that record, both White and his bandmates’ commitment to this project is nothing short of impressive. Of course this band isn’t built around Jack White, even if he’s the one generating most of the attention. Alison Mosshart of The Kills technically leads this crew of misfits, and White sits back on drums while Jack Lawrence and Dean Fertita shred on guitar. In a band where the sound is largely influenced by classic rock and blues music, one could even argue that White’s role is the least important. At least the music doesn’t sound that way.

As an introduction to The Dead Weather, “Horehound” served as a great introduction to their sound and proved to be an even better showcase for Mosshart, who always seemed to maintain a semi-subdued state on past Kills albums. Now having to compete with writhing guitar riffs, she proved she could hold her own in the boys club and that resulted in a surprisingly solid, but not exactly jaw-droppingly great debut. On their new album “Sea of Cowards”, the pressure ramps up in dramatic fashion. The guitars are heavier and sharp as knives. Mosshart does backflips on her vocals that give the impression of a deeply tortured soul. All the while White acts almost as her foil, chirping in on backing vocals for a number of tracks, or simply trading/doubling up on verses and choruses for tracks like “Hustle and Cuss” and “I’m Mad”. White’s microphone presence has increased compared to “Horehound”, yet the focus on Mosshart is deeper and more established than ever and she claims the spotlight like it was invented for her.

Where the strength in the overall performance of these songs has increased, the actual tracks themselves are weaker than those on their debut. A few of the songs primarily on the second half of the album are purposely designed to blend into one another, and occasionally it makes for an additional challenge of figuring out exactly when that takes place. There’s also a number of more experimental arrangements this time around, most of which wind up being either distracting or turn a potentially good song into a flat one. Closing track “Old Mary” is, among other things, Jack White’s odd riff on the Catholic “Hail Mary” prayer, with slightly different wordplay that’s spoken for the first half and winds up on some strange semblance of an actual song for the second. Other times it’s an oddly placed keyboard that weaves through the track. And though the vocals may be generally impressive, Mosshart or White may take them in an ill-conceived direction that lessens the impact of a chorus or leaves a track with no impact at all. Still, there are a few songs that work like gangbusters from every angle. First single “Die By the Drop” is surprisingly good, as is opening track “Bad Blood Blues”. If all the tracks on the record were as good as those two, “Sea of Cowards” would be in much better shape.

The great news is that once you dig through the 35 minutes of sludge and non-traditional arrangements that “Sea of Cowards” has to offer, you’ll hopefully be happy with the end product. The small tweaks that have been made between this album and the last one both help and hinder matters on equal levels, so really things are neither better nor worse than they were going in. The tension and pace are amped up in an effective way, along with Mosshart’s singing, it’s just too bad the rest of the material isn’t quite there to fully support it. As a volatile mood piece though, this record clearly knows what it’s doing. Take from that what you will when trying to decide if “Sea of Cowards” is worth your time and money, but otherwise consider this a light recommendation.

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