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Album Review: Brokeback - "Brokeback and the Black Rock"

Album Review: Brokeback - "Brokeback and the Black Rock"
Brokeback and the Black Rock
Thrill Jockey

Keeping busy with his other bands, Tortoise and Eleventh Dream Day, it’s been close to 10 years since Douglas McCombs has released a record with his Brokeback project. After recruiting a new band in the fall of 2010 featuring Pete Croke, Chris Hansen, and James Elkington, McCombs has crafted a guitar-fueled instrumental gem that’s worth the wait.

Tracked and mixed by engineer (and Tortoise bandmate) John McEntire, the eight jams on Brokeback and the Black Rock share a common theme with complex drumming, thick tones, and guitars simply gushing with reverb and tremolo. Dynamically varied, standout tracks include “Who is Bozo Texino” and its Mexicali-twang flavoring that evokes the image of a middle-of-the-desert tequila bender in a David Lynch movie. “Don’t Worry Pigeon” is an eight-plus-minute brew of shimmery guitar that concludes with a gorgeous all-out rock-out. And the driving fierceness of “Colossus of Rhoads,” the record’s final track, delivers a hypnotic piece of post-rock/fusion mastery.

Brokeback and the Black Rock is a no-brainer for folks who dig bands like Banyan and, of course, Tortoise. But it’s also for anyone who appreciates an outstanding rhythm section pushing interesting song structures, topped with emotion-rich storytelling that’s done through a guitar.

Must-hear track: “The Wire, the Rag, and the Payoff ”

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