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May 30, 2016







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Guillermo Sexo, Eclipse (Midriff Records)
CD Reviews: May 26, 2016

05/26/16



Guillermo Sexo, Eclipse (Midriff Records)

I dunno, this Boston indie mainstay’s last record, Dark Spring, struck me as a tamped-down version of Redd Kross but with a definite Pixies edge and the right amount of too-loudness on the guitar side, delivering annoying ear-worms that sounded like early demos from Tribe. You’re lost, aren’t ya, I did a fly-by, here, let’s back up. This sound has been the beat of Boston for nearly 30 years, musical enough for enticing, oh, maybe 0.005 percent of the actual club population to bob their heads, and amateurish enough so that lowly radio-indie bands like Kaiser Chiefs could kick their ass with both hands tied behind their back. “Distant Star” opens this one up with ’70s-radio-chill atmospherics and not-bad melodies that eventually swirl with a really cool shoegaze/noise vibe that should have been present from the start, at least to spare us the discordant coed faux-harmonies of frontwoman Noell Dorsey and her male counterparts. “Insomnia” fares better, like Siouxsie fronting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, as does “Vision Owl,” which evokes Versus trying to make something actually decent. Personally I’d like to hear more psyche-noise and less pub apathy, but that’d involve their settling on a core sound. B- 
 
Yellowjackets, Cohearance (Mack Avenue Records)
Over the last 35 years, this Los Angeles jazz quartet has had a ton of Grammy nominations, but despite all their high charting, amazingly sweet tunes and deep talent, they almost always wind up as bridesmaids (their last Grammy was in 1989), looking on while the Kenny Gs of the world walk off with the trophies. This has to stop. You would have thought that the presence of Jaco Pastorius’s son Felix on bass (and, bonus, playing Jaco’s original fretless bass, on loan from Metallica’s Robert Triujillo) might have been gimmickry enough to win a Grammy for their 2013 album A Rise in the Road, but nah. Okay, RITR didn’t carry as much melodic weight as its predecessor, Timeline, but it was a smooth-jazz clinic in every way — did you know Berklee School of Music offers a class whose sole purpose is analyzing this band? Whatever, I’ll live, just letting you know, and I’ll admit that Cohearance, their 20th album and perhaps brainiest, takes a few listens before the voicings manifest themselves. But after a while, these gorgeous, clever pieces do manifest themselves as “song”-songs, carefully finding the middle ground between prog wingnuttery and simple-stupid arena-breeze. If I may, these guys simply rule. A+





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