Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ear Bleeding Ecstasies of All the Saints

I've been having a pretty good couple of weeks, music-wise, mostly stuff I expect to be good (Calexico, Giant Sand, Mogwai), but also one very cool surprise.

All the Saints
Fire on Corridor X
(Killer Pimp)
US release date: 27 May 2008
UK release date: 16 June 2008
by Jennifer Kelly

Atlanta's All the Saints may start in a shivery atmosphere of Mogwai-ish guitar, piano and drums (the brief, evocative "Shadow Shadow"), but they quickly move to obliterating churn and drone. They may name two songs after historic synth pop ("Sheffield") and post-punk ("Leeds") capitals, but they are firmly grounded in the Manchester aesthetic of guitar distortion. Yet unlike label mates-and fellow feedback aficionados-A Place to Bury Strangers, All the Saints embedded a near metallic splendor into their fierce drones. You can hear bits of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in their shimmering sheets of sound, alongside echoes of all the usual Northern UK suspects, Stone Roses, Joy Division and My Bloody well as their American followers in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Fire on Corridor X
is the All the Saints' first full-length album, following on a seven-song EP. The band-guitarist Matt Lambert, bassist/singer Titus Brown and drummer Jim Crook-all grew up together in Alabama, but only formed a band a few years ago when they all met up in Atlanta. Yet for an early effort, Fire on Corridor X is remarkably cohesive and varied, its more pensive interludes ("Shadow, Shadow", "Hornett") leading inexorably into pounding, riff-bending onslaughts ("Sheffield", "Papering Fix"). "Leeds" is even a sort of folky, acoustic campfire song, yet it fits without a glitch between Sabbathy "Papering Fix" and the epic, slo-mo title track. The songs elide into one another, with the cut breaks often fairly arbitrary, a slow drone ending one song and introducing another. As a result, despite the variety of songs, the album has a very coherent shape and progression to it. It feels like a well-thought-out live performance, or even a long composition with movements.

More of the review


"Fire on Corridor X"

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