Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Record Review - Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Published in the September issue of Rhythms.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood
The Magic Door

From the same sessions that yielded CRB’s debut LP, Big Moon Ritual (reviewed in last month’s issue by Marty Jones), comes the companion piece, The Magic Door, a big pot of psych sludge that bubbles with a slow, menacing intensity, belching up steaming clouds of ‘70s country/rock, continuing along the same ‘big, booming soundscape’ tangent its predecessor mastered with consummate ease.

A bit shorter and sharper than Big Moon Ritual however (aside from the 14 minute ‘Vibration And Light Suite’), The Magic Door eases back into the late ‘60s a tad more – you’ve got slightly slower Creedence-esque numbers (opener, ‘Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go’ for example); moog-drenched tunes in which Robinson channels the Lizard King himself (you can feel the sweat flying from his brow, he’s probably naked as he sings), soaring guitars which cut and burn as they lumber along like a herd of wooly mammoths running in slow motion.

Elsewhere, the aforementioned ‘Vibration And Light Suite’ almost touches upon disco with it’s understated funky guitar riffage, whereas ‘Appaloosa’ pulls it back and the band settle in to the country-ish mode they obviously feel more than comfortable in.  And then there’s the band’s version of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.  Ingredients: a band with instruments, a packet of Rizzlas, a bag of the mellowest bud you can lay your hands on.  Method: roll bud in Rizzlas and smoke, play an Elvis cover.  Feeds: everyone.  Awesome.

Jimmy Reed’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ finishes proceedings, a luxurious mix of stoner blues and Doors’ ‘Riders On The Storm’ piano lethargy, a sugar-sweet end to a record which sees a band eschewing the New and the Now and getting high on sounds which epitomised the analogue, the warm, the real and the earthiness of a time and place we here at Rhythms wish was still prevalent today.  Epic is one word to describe this release, but it’s a word that doesn’t carry nearly enough strength.

Samuel J. Fell

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