Friday, November 7, 2008

A Tale Of Two Ancestors

TK WEBB & THE VISIONS – “Ancestor” CD ’08 (Kemado, US) – Man, here I go with the sports references again. But, sheezus, it works so well for me, you know? Anyway, I was just listening to “The Herd” on ESPN Radio and he was talking about “cool” in football. That is, the jokers these days like T.O., Randy Moss, The Player Formerly Known As Chad Johnson, etc. and they way they “think” they’re cool by staging elaborate self-serving touchdown celebrations and the like. He then went on to reference the people who he thinks are really cool, who act(ed) like they’ve been there before, like McNabb, Emmitt Smith, etc. who just ooze cool through classiness. I myself remember one instance that defines it for me….and, Baltimore fans, it doesn’t mean I like the Colts but just listen. Couple years ago, Indy was playing somebody, laying a hurting on them. They were in the red zone, somebody blew a coverage & there’s Dallas Clark standing in the end zone…completely by himself. I mean BY HIMSELF! There wasn’t a solitary person in either colour jersey in the entire county besides him. Manning fired him the ball and Clark didn’t even jump, flex his legs or move. He caught the ball, standing flat-footed, as simply as if a kid lobbed it to him from the front porch, walked over to the official and handed it to him. Six points and one of the coolest God damned looking things I’ve ever seen. Anyway, that’s what this album by New Yorkers TK WEBB & THE VISIONS reminds me of: Just flat-out, relaxed and well-within-themselves cool psychedelic rock. This isn’t some bunch of smart-asses who just left home for the first time and are cruising the streets trying to prove they’re men they’ll never be. Nah, this is a crew who are street-smart, way in tune with music from the ‘60’s right up through now and apply it with a confidence that’s mesmerizing. TK WEBB himself apparently had made himself quite a name around the East Village in NYC as a blues slinger and the idea occurred to him to put a full band together to do this here sort of heavy psych rendering. Good idea. Damn good idea. Maybe even a frickin’ great idea, when you listen to something like “God Bless The Little Angels.” In the space of 8 minutes, this bunch (TK Webb – guitar, vocals, Brian Hale – guitar, Ben McConnell – drums, Jordan Gable – bass) make stops in places that range from The Beatles in “Within You Without You” to Sir Lord Baltimore on “Kingdom Come” and you’re left wondering how…and glad they did. This kind of amazing dichotomy goes on throughout the album, from the ‘60’s psych leanings of “Year 33” to the Pike-ish sludge riffs in “Dreen Drone Death,” and within each, aspects of the other…and many more thoughts and feelings rise up from the ether like a rich, aromatic mist. In particular, WEBB himself is a real find for me as a listener. His voice, sometimes direct and others laced with a cavern effect often comes across as a very early Steven Tyler, of all things, and his guitar work is at once un-busy and yet deeply commanding. What a cool album, as each time I hit “play,” new doors open up and I’m swept into the magic. TIMELESS

ANCESTORS – “Neptune With Fire” CD ’08 (North Atlantic Sound, US) – A review I saw of this disc on Amazon oozed with rapt enthusiasm, saying something to the effect of: This album sounds just like Monster Magnet circa. 1999. Yes, it does…at points. At other points, it sounds just like Sleep circa. “Dopesmoker.” Yes, it does. At other points, it sounds just like Pink Floyd circa. “Meddle.” And, so on it goes. In fact, so disturbingly close to each of these other artists (and a few others) does “Neptune With Fire” sound that at times I was convinced I’d loaded up somebody’s compilation CD into my changer rather than ANCESTORS’ disc. Perhaps this is a phenomenon others have noticed as well, of recent years, and if I’m not alone maybe someone can give me a shout-out to help me rest assured I’m not crazy. It just seems like there have been a plethora of albums released that receive reviews, heaping them with dollops of gushing praise…all for sounding exactly like other bands! Is this recorded well? Yes. Is it well played? Yes! But for all that, what we have here are 2 extremely long songs (nearly 17 and 22 minutes) that virtually re-create sonic artifacts left to us by other bands before them. Is there a point to this? And, as a final thought, if you’d like to hear a truly awesome record composed of two very long (and interesting!) songs, try AGAINST NATURE’s “Anxiety Of Influence.” SAME OLD THING

1 comment:

The RIpple Effect said...

Ray - That TK analogy was brilliantly written! You couldn't have spun that any better. Superb!