It's pretty rare that an album lands in my lap for review that I get totally obsessed with. Thank you Thrill Jockey. Thank you so fucking much. The arrival of this album in my record collection has given the Black Keys a scare, pushing in on their listening time to an almost dangerous degree. This is heavy rock. Meaning that the promo album was carved out of a three ton slab of granite. After I offloaded this massive platter from the flatbed truck at my apartment and had the forklift operator put it up on my two story record player I used a crane to start it spinning. An expensive proposition to be certain but the earthquake that ensued was well worth the effort.
I was greeted with a swaggering deep rock track that blew half the cars in my neighborhood up into the air. "Laywayed" does not fuck around people. You can almost feel the power and resistance of the music, it's so thick it takes a few seconds for it to come out of the speakers. This gives way to the body of the album which feels like I'm sitting at the crossroads drinking bourbon and dropping acid with Morphine, Alice In Chains and Pink Floyd. "Maker", the title track for the record, is a haunting and intensely cerebral song that fills the space in your heart that used to hold your fear of the dark. Clocking in at damn near 13 minutes, I feel like this could go on for another half an hour and I'd still be listening. I like a band that says "fuck you" to radio friendly formatting and goes all out. The extended length makes the song, no doubt about it.
The solo work on this album pierces the gloom of this southern Gothic acid trip like the headlights of a car on a dark country night. Reading the copy from Thrill Jockey I learn that guitarist Van Carney blew out two amps during the recording session that gave us this album. This makes perfect sense as I'm watching the Richmond Fire Department try and battle the sexual blazes erupting all around my ruined neighborhood and my friends are all stripping their clothes off and getting down to "Honey". He bleeds into his guitar in every track, you can feel the sweat dripping down his chin in the tiny 12x12 studio they built to get this monster on tape and the smell of fried electronics wafting through the air. This track could seduce Leonard Cohen, it could burn a hole through your bed and make a Tibetan monk chuck the saffron and join the orgy. If you're ever feeling sexually repressed, I prescribe a healthy dose of Pontiak to get you through the night.
All in all, I say hell yes. Pick this thing up and grab a glass of bourbon, get your earthquake kit in order and crank it up.
"Maker " comes out on April 7th on Thrill Jockey Records. Be an anachronist! Buy it on the limited release (1000) vinyl! Remember kids, limited edition vinyl is worth 14 Indie Points a copy.
UPDATE: It's up for listening on Last.fm