dead rider Crew Licks (LP, £18.75)label: drag city
Dead Rider are up and rolling again and ‘Crew Licks’ is the latest job. After the thousand days and nights since ‘Chills On Glass’, Dead Rider had to overcome the creeping suggestion that they multitask themselves to sleep - or to premature brain death - whichever came first. Now they’re ready to get into their Rolling Stones suit and thank you for letting them be themselves again; to extrude rude grooves, shattered R&B and / or hip hop and mother’s blues in a priapic triad, trippedout and overlaid, shedding the old fresh in search of new flesh. With ‘Crew Licks’, Dead Rider offer an anti-hero for today. He’s the everyman, the workingman (the man that they in fact are), in a tailor-made creature made up of many, to funk and bump through the bepuzzled night. To render the thing, they’ve grasped onto tools pulled from the rubble of rock and roll. The beat is load-bearing, brickhouse solid (courtesy of batterieman Matt Espy) but flexible, breathing. In through the cracks come stuttered words and whispers, the pealing of a steel drum, a squalling sax or two, barks from the outside. Crew foreman Todd Rittmann twines them with a cabling of acid-bass guitar licks, cutting down into the roots for fingerings to invert and extend. The basslines roll and crush, bounce and squish as required, bringing synth and synthesis into and away from the framework. Wafting through the room is the float and gloss of eternal rhythm and blues, whether it’s the swelling of soulful choirs, organ chords or the deft tailing of guitar lines designed to relax us in the shades of a dusty, aphrodisiac evening. ‘Crew Licks’ is audio-verite pop music; not created but lived, with parts of life on the run reused to facilitate other parts. A chimera, reflecting man in pieces; not whole or fully animate.
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