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Tortoise & Bonnie Prince Billy – “Brave and the Bold, the ” – [Overcoat Recordings]

Gotta ‘fess up, I’m an old Oldham fan. Even when he’s perched
in front of thousands of Bjork fans naked with nothing save a
harpsichord, I’m on his side. His voice like a buckshot bird
plummeting through the sky is always welcome. Add to my docket
the fact that I dig covers (when they are suitably screwed
with). So no wonder, I’m predisposed to dig this set of 10
reworklings. Springsteen is probably seven years too soon for
the cognoscenti to even consider being covered, but the hell
with them. “Thunder Road” here is pretty damn fine, only the
Miami Steve harmonies are reconstituted. There’s a chunky,
clunky distorto-riff that straps itself to the song’s engines.
“Love is Love” starts out like a Suicide blitz, indeed a lot
of the Tortoise work here is bugged & fuzzed with factory
drums machining away in grime and 4/4 time. That evaporates
when “Pancho” gallops in on a xylophone with a breathy backup
vocal from Sally Timms. But Devo’s “That’s Pep” revives that
thickened bass…and Jeff Parker is bouncing around from
channel to channel, his key to the successes here. At 1:45
into “That’s Pep” it comes to a silent stop (the Minutemen
cover also hits this sort of false death). From then on the
sweltering sound of the earlier tracks is gone, “I Got Devil”
is a slow dance with ‘I See a Darkness’, “The Calvary Cross”
has a nice sun-on-the-hillside intro into a gangly, jangle
ballad. “On My Own” eulogizes this release, blesses it
with banjo for the Billy devotees. I really dug the more
heretical numbers from the first half. “Cravo e Canela” is
favela funky, and the sloppy seconds on “It’s Expected I’m
Gone” taste like meaty Minutemen hours. Built with all the
love of a mixtape. -Thurston Matewan

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on January 27, 2006 at 2:27 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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