Album Review

Jarboe – “Men Album, the ” – [Atavistic]

Max Level   1/26/2006   A Library, CD

A sprawling, genre-defying work from this enigmatic vocalist. Disc 1 is “Guitars”, and Disc 2 is “Rhythms”, but there is such a wide range of elements on each disc that those simple titles seem inadequate. A partial list of collaborators: Blixa Bargeld (Einsterzende Neubauten, Bad Seeds), David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Kris Force (Amber Asylum), Steve Von Till (Neurosis), Alan Sparhawk (Low), Edward Ka-Spel (Legendary Pink Dots), Percy Howard (Meridiem), Jim Thirlwell (Foetus), the wonderfully weird David Torn, and on and on. Jarboe’s seductive vocals tie everything together. Among the highlights on Disc 1 are a mid-tempo rocker, a sweeping cinematic track with middle-Eastern flavor, a fuzzy shrieker, and a crushing Neurosis-style onslaught. Disc 2 offers perhaps even more variety: a distorted sludge-riff, a galloping Old West/Spanish feel, a glitchy pulse-piece, a lullaby with piano, a lowdown blues, a multitracked vocal nightmare… somehow all of that becomes beautifully coherent. An outstanding record.

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