While their music still traverses maddeningly Byron-esque landscapes and still has a healthy dose of raging distortion ringing through out it isn't anywhere near as punishing as their younger selves were. Their last studio album was released in 2007 the brilliant The Narcotic Story , but they have not been quiet in the ten years since that release. So, as I have lived with the Thin Black Duke for a while now, it is time to write my 2 nd review. It is not designed for mass consumption, it is not to be digested by the masses as it is not a cookie dough, easy fit, identikit one size fits all product. I am still trying to understand the depths of the record and to gauge more understanding from each spin. Approaching 30 years of existence, San Francisco's Oxbow have never exactly been conventional.
Just hearing him play kills me. A light had gone out—a light with a monstrous bass tone and a feral roar. The Narcotic Story also found Oxbow wholly embracing sonic textures previously just hinted at — piano and string arrangements complemented the group's raucous twisted grooves, an ebb and flow of delicate control and explosions of rock fury. What is audible and clear is equalled by what is mumbled and hidden, creating layer upon layer of feverish intrigue. What is gleaned from his vocal is both fascinating and disturbing but is made all the more so by the fragmentary way in which they are delivered.
Formed in 1988, Oxbow have been mixing a blend of Avant Garde jazz and noise, pushing the boundaries of what constitutes as a song over the course of their six previous records. Some bands have an aura about them, something which you cannot put your finger on as the music created is beyond description. The musical landscape has gone through a dizzying amount of motions since then, but Oxbow never seemed like a band who would notice. What is initially most evident in modern-day Oxbow is age. Pre-order customers will receive a digital download on release date. In February of 2018, the members of Cave In gathered at their rehearsal space in Boston to work on material for their next record.
Cut for vinyl by Telegraph Mastering. Their 1989 debut record Fuckfest was, as Robinson tells us, recorded as a suicide note. The signifiers of power — money and sex — are consistently recurring figures in frontman Eugene S. Rather, like Swans at their most confrontational, they distill politics down to its starkest, most unsavory essence: power. Much has been said in the build-up to the release of this album about its embracing of timbres previously untouched by Oxbow — namely, string arrangements. Track Listing: 1: Final Transmission 2: All Illusion 3: Shake My Blood 4: Night Crawler 5: Lunar Day 6: Winter Window 7: Lanterna 8: Strange Reflection 9: Led To The Wolves All orders come with a digital download on release date.
To be fair, this might have less to do with any shortcomings in the string section than the sheer, breath-taking force of those guitars. It is perhaps because the band give themselves lengthy amounts of time to produce their at times nightmarish material, but there is a real swagger about Thin Black Duke that isn't merely an ode to the recently deceased Thin White Duke though it doesn't hurt. . They have always been a consistent unit, but they feel like a band you don't realise you miss until they've not been around for a while. Guitarist and chief composer Niko Wenner ditched the woodwinds that played a prominent role in Narcotic Story and supplements his dense arrangements with a brass octet and a pair of string quartets. The band had refined their avant-garde noise rock experiments into tightly wound structures, each song a movement in the succession of a greater whole.
Thin Black Duke is an album I have been anticipating as a reviewer and a fan, it is also an album I had the honour to review twice — one for Bearded Gentleman Music and once for Which is probably just as well, as I knew that this album would take a long time to absorb, to explorer as fully as possible. We know that it is being recorded at 25th Street Recording in Oakland and is being produced by the legendary Joe Chiccarelli. Furthermore, The Thin Black Duke is at best a cryptic homage. That said, Thin Black Duke replaces aggressive 'noise' with a real swagger and confidence that comes with an act who have been playing together for nearly 30 years, but remain willing to push themselves creatively. This is not an album you can have on casually in the background, to listen to the sweet cuts and cherry pick, throwing the rest away.
While there is a definable vein of familiarity running through the jugular of their music, the many vessels and channels they traverse over the courses of their albums can make it extremely difficult to keep up. The opening title track is a voice memo of a song idea he sent to his bandmates the last time they saw each other. They have crafted an album which is standing head and shoulders above everything else that has been released so far in 2017, this might be a bold statement, but Oxbow are not your average band and Thin Black Duke is not your average album. Reviewing this album twice has been tough, but the result and some of the context to be honest is the same. Over the course of eight songs, Oxbow have once again redefined themselves and what it is to be a band.
It demands your attention throughout, never letting you get comfortable and always challenging. Review Summary: A well-read thug. Horns, strings and piano swirl around the trio of musicians as they shove the record to its intense conclusion. As I said earlier, you do not get an Oxbow record on the first listen and this is the case with Thin Black Duke, but that does not stop you from falling under its subtle charms. On March 28th, 2018, Caleb was killed in an auto accident. All items are digital renderings and final product may vary slightly.
Generally, it's best just to let them take you for the ride. Ironically, this may well be Oxbow's most accessible album yet. So, from its announcement, I was dying to hear the new record from , whose originality and cathartic power has not been compromised once since they burst from the ashes of Bay Area hardcore legends, Whipping Boy. While Oxbow's early material seemed combustible at every turn, constantly on the brink of descending into utter discord, the songs on Thin Black Duke see the band entirely in command. On Thin Black Duke, songwriter and guitarist Niko Wenner explores the power of restraint even further. Although the sonic territory here is rather different, their tempestuous push-and-pull reminds me a little of the manner in which Nick Cave interacts with his musical foils — i.
In interviews from this time we see a drug-ravaged face, gaunt and malnourished from his diet of red peppers, milk and cocaine. Older and wiser might be a hokey way of putting it, but this is a sneakily classy record through and through. If I had to describe this in one word that word would be flawless or terrifying, I go backwards and forwards on that one. In that time, their contemporaries Swans, Enablers and Harvey Milk have all come along and disappeared again, each prophesying their apocalyptic nightmares to relative commercial success. But soaring atop of all that is Robinson's incredible vocal performance.