Thursday, March 4, 2010

Past Lives

Tapestry of Webs (Suicide Squeeze, 02.2010)

For: XTC, Liars, Unwound

Byline: Is there life after fronting the Blood Brothers? Jordan Blilie leads 3/4 of The Brothers Blood into the studio and emerges with this churning, grating, downright fantastic record. Originally published on Used by permission by In Your Speakers, LLC.

....Tapestry of Webs is a discordant, grating, gem of a record, one that borrows heavily from Blood Brothers influential mainstay, the turbulent noise rock of the nineties but filtered through the gloriously weird excesses of eighties post-punk. Being free of Johnny Whitney’s shocking counter-points to Jordan Blilie’s commanding croon, the songs are largely constructed around Blilie’s surprisingly strong songwriting and penchant for memorable hooks over a tumultuous sea of swirling guitar attacks and a newly minted horn section. Past Lives benefits greatly from the return of guitarist Devin Welch and the move of Morgan Henderson from bass to baritone guitar. Henderson slathers his deep, rhythmic grooves across each song with an impenetrable swirling drone of cicada-like buzzing. The rhythm section, still helmed by Gajadhar, is augmented by a punch-drunk horn section that gallops along with his start-stop playing.

Past Lives are in their element at their most experimental. “K-Hole” borrows heavily from the churning, chaotic soundscapes of this years Clipd Beaks album, or last year’s HEALTH. Heavy rhythmic breakdowns over clashing guitars are pinned to Blilie’s feathered cap as he propels the song along with a buoyant vocal cadence before breaking into a teeth-curling shriek on the chorus, like the Blood Brothers never broke up. The albums first single, “Hex Takes Hold” is a triumphant hurtle into XTC-meets-"Drums"-era-Liars, taking on a throat-grabbing chorus of backfired prophetic visions and pin-sticking voodoo apparitions. 60’s power-pop holds court in the surprisingly catchy “”Don’t Let the Ashes Fill Your Eyes” down to the Shangri-La-like “oooh-la-la-las.” “Paralyzer” is a kiss-off as much as it is a open-mouthed tongue-in-cheek ode to the 80’s power ballads that make mystical the mere appearance of a woman as a paralyzing sexual Medusa (think “Jessie’s Girl” or “Cherry Pie”). Replace the schlocky guitar theatrics with some serious down-tuned guitar rumblings and Tapestry of Webs is officially not The Blood Brothers 6th studio album.

Ryan H.

Read the full review here

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