C.J. Boyd

The Greatest Weight

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Not many albums have instrumentation solely provided by electric bass and harmonica, so credit goes to C.J. Boyd for even attempting the idea to start with. But beyond that there has to be good music, and happily Boyd delivers on The Greatest Weight, an album which recalls the mysterious chill of performers like Lull or the underrated Crib, as well as more conventional but no less gripping bands like Codeine or early Low in their emphasis on the low rather than the high end. However, it's the harmonica which gives Boyd his own particular way around some of the extended compositions -- the effect is like hearing a lost cowboy killing time somewhere on a night-time ranch on Mars, or even further out. The five long pieces that make up The Greatest Weight often ride this unexpected, intriguing tension beautifully, three of them being well over 15-minutes long. While bass rather than harmonica is the lead instrument at almost all points, the latter allows Boyd to set unexpected moods in differing ways. On "Bonfire," he starts with more conventional drones before the harmonica's drifting wheeze, equally stretched out in the mix, serves as counterpoint, with a steady bass performance suddenly introduced a few minutes in out of nowhere. In contrast is "Here's to Hybris," with its tenser, tighter grooves suggesting threat on the one hand, while longer, more contemplative notes lend a serene calm on the other, one which slowly but surely takes over the mood of the song even as it stays active and energetic. The shorter pieces often function as extensions of the longer -- thus the double-tracked bass interplay on "Go Love Some More," which continues without a break from "Bonfire" and feels like a more up-tempo -- perhaps "positive," for lack of a better word -- epilogue.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
20:01
2
6:52
3
4:34
4
16:02
5
20:32
blue highlight denotes track pick