Another very fine record from Chris Brokaw, this one more or less in the indie-pop vein of Incredible Love but with members of Tortoise along. The review's up now at Blurt, which is still giving me virus warnings every time I go there.
Chris Brokaw hasn't been quiet in the six years since Incredible Love, recording a half-dozen albums in the interim. Still Gambler's Ecstasy is the first real guitar pop album for Brokaw in more than half a decade, once again threading the songwriter's sandpapery voice through thickets of rock guitar and drums. Brokaw works mostly solo, but Tortoise's Doug McCombs and John Herndon turn up to add density to the long album centerpiece, a droning, kraut-pulsing, faintly hallucinatory cut called "The Appetites." Here Brokaw's voice seldom rises above a murmur, the tone confidential but the words abstract.
Likewise, the music sounds more accessible than it is, layering indie-rock strumming with oddball melodic flourishes. Later Thalia Zedek's violist, David Michael Curry embellishes the album's lone cover ("Crooked" from Cincinnati band Wussy) with melancholy swoops of strings. Brokaw makes his best lyrical statement in "Danny Borracho," a barn-raising, tongue-biting snapshot of scenester pretense. Gambler's Ecstasy takes some risks, pursuing diverse styles and eccentric paths to tunefulness, but it mostly comes up sevens.
DOWNLOAD: "Danny Borracho," "The Appetites" -JENNIFER KELLY