Red Giant

Devil Child Blues

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Five whole years had passed since Red Giant's second album, 1999's Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound, raised the space rock bar well beyond the atmosphere, so it's not all that surprising (slightly disappointing, but not surprising) to see how the Cleveland stoners moved on, evolved, etc., on 2004's tellingly named Devil Child Blues. For starters, the quartet remains relatively earthbound, in musical if not inspirational terms, after presumably failing to renew its astronautical credentials (and the long, strange, trippy jams that came with them), delving into a far more terrestrial fusion of blues-based hard rock and metal on the streamlined likes of "White Mom," "Jetpack," and "Hoping for the Golden BB." But Red Giant wisely stuck to their rockets on what many fans consider to be their very best asset: the thrilling twin-guitar interplay between two-headed front-monster Alex and Damien, which repeatedly ignites their liquid fuel formula with hypnotic guitar tapestries on the tortured blues of a title track, the spiraling juggernaut of "John L. Sullivan," and the perfectly named "Millennium Falcon." And there's still that proverbial je ne sais quoi about the group, sparking otherworldly departures from convention like the forbidding grinds-riffs of "I Breathe Fire" and the colossal final stage of the particularly memorable "(How Ya Doin' on That) Time Machine." Even Red Giant's choice of cover song to close out the album -- a wah-wah-drenched shimmy through the Stooges' "Funhouse" -- is less than predictable, yet ideally suited to Devil Child Blues' innately weird inclinations. So even if this flight is a sub-orbital one, that doesn't mean Red Giant aren't soaring high still, in a slightly different fashion.

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