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Gregory Robson 07/06/10 01:27 PM

Blue Giant - Blue Giant
 
Blue Giant - Blue Giant
Record Label: Vanguard Records
Release Date: July 13, 2010


There's something distinctively authentic, timeless and resonant about the self-titled debut disc from the Portland band Blue Giant. Comprised of Viva Voce's Kevin and Anita Robinson, The Decemberists' Chris Funk, Seth Loricinzi of The Golden Bears and Evan Railton of Swords, the band is in essence a supergroup, and to that point they have released an equally super album. Culling together an amalgam of influences, this auspicious full-length debut mines the terrain of bluegrass, country and folk, while still employing straight-forward earthy rock textures.

Album opener "Clean the Clock," features jangling acoustic guitar, a saturnine steel guitar, vocal harmonies and a moody organ. Equal parts psychedelic, rustic and harmonic, it's a rowdy, if not winsome way to open an album. Bolstered by a rising banjo, "Blue Sushine," is a slap-happy, feel good chesnut anchored by a melancholic slide guitar and an undeniable urge to start shaking the hips. As the disc moves to it's middle half "Lonely Girl," allows Anita to take center stage and thanks in part to a vibrant 12 string, this twangy, corn-fed beauty has all the trappings of a Merle Haggard lament.

On the heels of that is "Target Heart," which draws once again on vintage country harmonies, steel guitar and a chorus that's as hook-heavy and magnetic as any released this year. The disc reaches its apex though on the shimmering "Gone for Good," is a gorgeous and delicate duet between Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Kevin Robinson. If all minor-key love songs sounded this transcendent, roots music would be far more well-known by mainstream music lovers. And then, almost surprisingly, the disc ends with two of the disc's better compositions, most notably penultimate cut "The Void Above the Sky," and the aching closer "Reasons to Cry."

Chasing down vintage country and old-school roots-rock is not a novel concept, but what quintet manages to do on this scintillating full-length is certainly worth recommending to friends (and enemies). Though there is a good chunk of filler ("Wesley," "Target Heart," "Go On," "The Game,") the memorable songs mark this disc as something worth purchasing and something worth coming back to.

Track Listing 1. Clean the Clock
2. Blue Sunshine
3. Wesley
4. Lonely Girl
5. Target Heart
6. When Will the Sun Shine?
7. Go On
8. Run Rabbit Run
9. Gone For Good (Duet with Corin Tucker)
10. The Game
11. The Void Above the Sky
12. Reasons to Cry


Find Them Here Website
Myspace

inthemidst 07/06/10 05:53 PM

I'm loving the conciseness and succintness of your reviews, my friend.

Gregory Robson 07/06/10 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inthemidst (Post 70633252)
I'm loving the conciseness and succintness of your reviews, my friend.

I try. But thank you honestly for the kind words. Much appreciated.

Erik the Orange 07/07/10 07:45 AM

I want to hear this now! Blue Sunshine is amazing!

Jeremy Aaron 07/07/10 08:27 AM

I loved the Target Heart EP, so I'll definitely be checking this out as well. More music should be worthy of Haggard comparisons. Lord knows you can't get that from "country" music anymore.

Gregory Robson 07/07/10 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeremy Aaron (Post 70679092)
I loved the Target Heart EP, so I'll definitely be checking this out as well. More music should be worthy of Haggard comparisons. Lord knows you can't get that from "country" music anymore.

Sadly no.

Jookl 07/07/10 08:44 AM

Digging that album. Good review

P.S You entered their website's Adress Twice (both under the website and myspace link).

Gregory Robson 07/07/10 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jookl (Post 70679792)
Digging that album. Good review

P.S You entered their website's Adress Twice (both under the website and myspace link).

I appreciate that. Fixing it now. Thanks so much for pointing that out.

Matthew Tsai 07/07/10 10:10 AM

You've got me interested.