Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gary Lucas

I've got a review of Gary Lucas' new album up today at Dusted...in which I conclude that the best things in life are the simple ones.

As if I had any direct experience with simplicity...but anyway.

Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters
The Ordeal of Civility
Knitting Factory
Much is made of the technical virtuosity of Gary Lucas, the guitarist for Beefheart’s extremely difficult “Evening Bell,” the co-writer of Jeff Buckley’s incandescent “Mojo Pin” and freewheeling “Grace,” the collaborator with downtown heavyweights and global syncretists. His ease with multiple, difficult idioms — rock, free-jazz, classical, blues and various kinds of folk music — is impressive, a tribute both to finger skill and a restless, omnivorous intelligence.
Lucas’ band members are capable, too, in a variety of genres. Billy Ficca, Television’s drummer, holds intricate, conflicting rhythms accountable in the more difficult songs, then backs off to a rumble in the quieter ones. Ernie Brooks, the bass player from the Modern Lovers, plays off these rhythms in interesting, often unexpected ways. Saxophonist Jason Candler switches from jazz to pop to the subtlest suggestion of texture, while Joe Hendle plays organ and piano and occasionally trombone. They are all capable of the wildest kinds of cacophonies, spinning out every which way yet somehow landing safely and in one piece. And yet, despite the display of skill here in The Ordeal of Civility, the most striking songs are the simplest ones.


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