No-Neck Blues Band


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The rise in critical consideration of the No-Neck Blues Band since the release of their Revenant album Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me had as much to do with their live shows and John Fahey's endorsement than with the music committed to record. In other words, that album alone (and even the other ones the group had self-released) could not justify the group's quickly rising cult status. But that's a thing of the past: Intonomancy lives up to all expectations. In each of the nine tracks, the musicians (as usual, the line-up is not disclosed) grab elements from folk, psychedelic rock, free jazz and minimalist music to create captivating instant pieces. The music is part improvisation, part ritual in rediscovering the virtues of simplicity in music. Unlike most rock-derived music of this kind (Godspeed You Black Emperor, Jackie-O Motherfucker), the listener can actually picture the musicians smiling and enjoying themselves while recording this optimistic music -- optimistic, but never naive. The drums lay down a groovy road, borrowing from Indian and Native American traditions to find the right trance-inducing pattern. The guitars avoid gratuitous noise to focus on repeated motifs and light psychedelic soloing. If these instruments are the skeleton and blood of the band, the violin is its soul and the saxophone its voice. They both express a wide range of emotions, the second more outgoingly than the first. "Play Your Play," the title track and the closer "The Shepherd Takes a Shine to the Abyss" stand out as premium examples of extended free-rock jams that go somewhere and take you along with them. Highly recommended as a substitute for mind-altering substances, Intonomancy is safer for your health and its effects last longer.

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