Basehead

In The Name of Jesus

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AllMusic Review by

Michael Ivey can program a drum machine to sound like that old horror story where all the prisoners are locked up in a huge cell block that moves on a track inside a mountain. They all pull together because they must, because each prisoner knows that if the cell block doesn't go around, he might be the one who doesn't get the rotten cabbage rolled down the food chute and only the newsiest scream at the thought. Thankfully that only happens a few times here, most notably on "Amen," and when Jay Nichols comes banging arrhythmically on some real skins, it's such an enormous relief that somebody exists, somebody feels in the middle of mixes so dense you strain the brain and not the ears, to catch the sound before it skulks around the corner down the block. Faith caught Ivey mid-capitulation. He wanted Jesus in his life but he also wanted his beer, his pot, his television, and his lust. By this record, capitulation was complete. Unfortunately, chanting praises leaves the Basehead mastermind without his characteristic wit, and he lacks the energetic exhortations that often lift gospel performers above sameness in material. On the strength of the murk, the stasis, and Ivey's perhaps-unintentionally sinister mutter, this set is an intriguing and singular specimen. Lyrically it's a solitary, rotting cabbage leaf.