Outhouse Music 2022
Two decades of tuneful tomfoolery shine a lively light on motley NY crew’s anniversary mini-album.
This troupe ain’t known for half-measures, as their return to recording studio after decade-and-a-half of roaming the stages and emergence with "Joy Machine" proved with much panache, so even though its follow-up lasts less than half an hour, the twenty-five minutes on offer are truly spine-tingling. The energy oozing out of “Bioluminate” is close to nuclear but the songs’ hilarious explosiveness will also turn out to be quite thought-provoking – befitting the wise-men perception of the band’s members. The result of such an approach, of course, is simultaneously alluring, hard-hitting and, well, dangerous.
Nocturnal raptures wrap the listener’s ears right from the beginning, once the brass-splashed, boogie-stricken stroll down “West End Road” unhurriedly brings guilty pleasures to neon-lit streets before Mark Rechler’s ivories let his rasp and female choir to the fore only to have the piano shine afresh and find David Berg’s stinging guitar chase the sleaze away. There’s sweet, albeit sarcastic, vibe to the scintillating funk of “Darwin’s Sister” where Chris Crosby’s bass licks lead the way – sadly, the low-frequencies master died during the album sessions – while the sublime, organ-steamed ballad “Miss Fortune” is augmented with guesting Nels Cline’s six-string solo. And if the spicy samba of “Baby Come Back Down” seems possessed with voodoo jive, “Vampire Blues” takes care of the record’s final slice of fun, giving its shuffle a whiff of swagger and leading sonic spectators to a honky-tonk paradise.
With bliss married to wicked grin, “Bioluminate” should become a perfect antidote to our sadness-drenched times.