Pearls and Brass

The Indian Tower

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Following up their stoner rock self-titled debut on the Doppelganger label, Nazareth, PA-based Pearls and Brass are true sons of heavy, zoned-out sludge rock. Their Drag City debut, Indian Tower, is all fire, crunch, and burn. Their arrangements are a little busy, full of semi-intricate twists and turns on the title track, but the groove is solid, hard, and fluid. The band's willingness to engage more spaced-out fare, such as chanted backing vocals and minor-to-major key shifts, is appealing. "Face of God" and "Black Rock Man" are perhaps what Cream might have sounded like had they followed Jack Bruce down into the heavy rock rabbit hole. Randy Huth's guitar playing is spectacular without being overly flashy. His and Joel Winter's vocals carry a kind of ghostly weight against the thudding crunch of the music. Josh Martin's drum kit is sheer hammer power -- slow, deliberate, and yet utterly inventive. These cats also actually write songs, not riffs. Check "Beneath the Earth," with its knotty winding structure. Indian Tower is a deeply satisfying hard rock record and stands apart form the longhaired greasy masses who sacrifice songwriting for power chords. Highly recommended.

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