Album Review

U.S. Maple – “Purple on Time ” – [Drag City]

Max Level   2/4/2006   A Library, CD

I believe this is the 5th full-length release from this weirdo Chicago quartet. I don’t know if it’s “rock”, but whatever it is it’s strange and cool. This new CD is a revelation, the material sounding far less disjointed and confusing than on their last CD. Here the players actually seem to be listening to one another and playing parts that interlock; witness for example the pounding teamwork of the bass and drums. Sweet and sour guitars combine spare blues vibes with ringing Sonic Youth drones. I’ve finally caught on to what an innovative band this is, instrumentally. And it’s nice to know that some things don’t change: we still get Al Johnson singing extremely oblique lyrics in his strangled whisper. Includes a version of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”.

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