Thursday, July 25, 2013

Album Review: Retribution Gospel Choir

The first album from Retribution Gospel Choir, released in 2008, sets the tone for this project - heavy, rocking out guitars, a sort of Alan Sparhawk midlife crisis escape from Low.
Basically if you like the heavier bits of The Great Destroyer, you'll love this.  Opening with the heavy rock of They Knew You Well, the band reimagine two of Low's songs from Drums and Guns in this format - Take Your Time and Breaker, both of which succeed it has to be said.
The pounding, bone-shaking riffs of Somebody's Someone and What She Turned Into thrill and startle in equal measure.  The bashful, subdued Holes In Our Heads is more typical Sparhawk territory, starting quietly before giving way to more guitar pyrotechnics. Kids betrays the hallmark of producer Mark Kozelek's heavier material with Sun Kil Moon, all heavy, yet hesitant guitar crunch, and is allowed a full four minutes before concluding with Sparhawk singing a gentle 'Amen'.
Frustratingly, many of the other songs last little over two minutes, it would have been nice to hear Sparhawk indulge his inner Crazy Horse.  It's at times unsettling and never a comfortable listen, the ideal flipside to Low's Drums and Guns album.