desoto caucus 4 (CD, £12.50)label: glitterhouse
After releasing two strong albums within a mere 11 months, the DeSoto Caucus has taken their time completing this release. "4" is an album marking a change in the band's modus operandi; after consistent touring and shows everywhere from humble Reeperbahn bars to imposing concert halls, the former musical collective has steadily become more of a tight knit gang of four. Having picked up a great deal of dexterity in handling musical curve balls through years of touring and recording as Howe Gelb's Giant Sand, the intuitive way of playing is ever present. Along with still more personally engaged songwriting, the sound of the band is significant, intriguing and utterly unique. There's still the solid, liquid grooves made up of Peter Dombernowsky's rolling beats and dry percussion, perfectly matched by the rock steady flexibility of bass player Henrik Poulsen, the boiling organ, pensive piano and twang guitar of Nikolaj Heyman with the signature dual lead vocals he shares with main songwriter Anders Pedersen. At the same time, though, fans of the band will recognise new flavours not only in the fat sounds oozing from the album, but also in the expanded collaborative efforts of Heyman and Pedersen on stories of frailty, detachment and rupture. For recording the band relocated to Heyman's north country studio in a former horse stable turned Big Pink, and isolated themselves, jamming and trying new approaches. The artistic benefits of being without cell phone signal and wifi are obvious, but during the winter the remoteness also meant having to deal with frozen pipes, and melting snow for the morning brew. Two and a half years down the road, the foursomes' fourth album is proof that the process, focused on gaining new territory while never abandoning your trademarks, was worth the wait. So join the DeSoto Caucus's continued journeys under the wide open sky, down red dirt roads, into towns without names, and into the hearts of people out of touch and out of time. Not unlike the DeSoto Caucus itself, timeless as their take on contemporary independent rock is. Four brothers in arms. Four musketeers. Embarking on yet another sonic voyage.
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