Love Tractor

Green Winter

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Love Tractor's second album since Michael Richmond reinvented the group as a progressive rock outfit with 2005's Black Hole, Green Winter is a collection of ten dream-like pieces which don't spin quite as dark a mood as Black Hole but still conjure up the feeling of a slow-moving netherworld quite a ways apart from Love Tractor's work of the 1980s. The more pastoral moments recall Traffic during their John Barleycorn Must Die period, while much of the rest is dotted with washes of synthesizer and electronic sounds which suggest Love Tractor is slowly evolving into a Dixie-fried space rock outfit. The band even eases into something resembling blues and boogie on "Greenfield Rock" and acid-tinged ska on "Pain and Suffering," while they also pause to cover the Roxy Music chestnut "Three and Nine." Green Winter is a more coherent and unified effort than Black Hole, and the players behind guitarist Richmond -- Billy Homes on keys, Ben Holst on guitar, Tom Lewis on bass, and Darren Stanley on drums -- sounds more like a band than a collection of musicians this time out. Still, Green Winter doesn't move forward so much as it ambles aimlessly, and even though the playful quality of the album is welcome, most of Green Winter sounds like it was more fun to play than to hear. Every musician has the right to reinvent himself, but Richmond's new sonic direction is significantly less interesting than his earlier legacy, and the sunnier vibe of Green Winter only makes that clear.

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