Retribution Gospel Choir

2

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Fronted by singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk of slowcore pioneers Low, Retribution Gospel Choir actually have very little in common with Low’s hushed sensibilities. Instead, the three-piece (Low’s lineup with drummer Eric Pollard subbed in for Mimi Parker) makes music in a more rock-oriented style -- imagine a plodding Field Music or a beefed-up Kings of Leon. Their second album, aptly titled 2, is a blend of several types of rock: indie rock, alternative rock, American roots rock, and ‘70s rock, with glimmering three-part harmonies that often feel fitting for an active radio single. “Hide It Away” and the blue-collar anthem “Workin’ Hard” tote golden melodies that are way sunnier than the artwork would suggest, and are the sure standouts, but the album is balanced by dark stoner crunch, played up especially in the eight-plus-minute “Electric Guitar.” 2 is a prime example of an album that could have been trimmed into a great EP, but is weighed down by excess filler. “The Last of the Blue Dream” and "'68 Comeback" are tiny repetitive instrumental interludes tacked on for the sake of making it a ten-song record, and the plodding minor-key “Poor Man’s Daughter” and “Bless Us All” tend to drag. However, Sparhawk, Pollard, and bassist Steve Garrington catch fire on the other side of the spectrum, when they meld big riffs and power pop.

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