Brokeback
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 ”