Retribution Gospel Choir - 2
Record Label: Sub Pop
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Retribution Gospel Choir was originally conceived in 2005 as a side project of Alan Sparhawk of slowcore pioneers Low and Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters. Kozelek's no longer in the lineup, which now includes Low's Matt Livingston on bass and Eric Pollard of No Wait Wait on drums. This is, as the title would suggest, the trio's second release, and their first on the indie powerhouse Sub Pop.
How Is It?
Despite the presence of one near-perfect indie rock single, 2 suffers from a definite lack of focus and cohesiveness. "Hide It Away", the album's glistening opener, is the clear standout, with its tight harmonies, jangly guitars with a Band of Horses-like reverb and thin layer of distortion, and rolling drums that give the song an arena-filling thump and keep it moving along at a steady march. Unfortunately, it's the only song even remotely like it on the album. The rest of the record, much like the band's self-titled debut, leans in a more psych-rock direction, and it occasionally works. "Working Hard" is memorable with its direct hook, but all the sparkle of "Hide It Away" is traded in for classic rock crunch, such that it's not even recognizable as the same band on both tracks, save perhaps for the vocals.
When you consider that there are two throwaway sub-minute interludes, two extended tracks, which consist of mostly self-indulgent (read: boring) drugged-out jamming ("Poor Man's Daughter" and the fittingly titled "Electric Guitar"), and one track of mostly indiscernible lo-fi noise ("Something's Gonna Break"), there isn't a whole lot left with any value. While "Hide It Away" is definitely not to be missed, 2 as a whole, while little more than a half hour, might be a trip not worth taking.
For Fans Of: Band of Horses, White Whale, and Black Mountain
I actually really dig this album and probably would have rated it a tad higher. There are some terrific guitar solos on this record, at least two of which left an indelible impression. Stoked that you reviewed it, bud.