CD Review: Retribution Gospel Choir 2 [2010, Subpop]

Toronto – I’ve seen Low a couple of times now and while I definitely enjoyed them, I will admit that I got a little bored during their sets.  In fact, Low was a band I didn’t pay that much attention to until I happened to catch the brilliant documentary Low-You May Need A Murderer, more a portrait of singer Alan Sparhawk and his own set of beliefs and opinions than a straight band documentary.  After that I became a full on fan and was excited to see what they would do next.  I also discovered Sparhawk’s more rockin’ side project, The Retribution Gospel Choir.  Sparhawk’s desire to rock out more suggested to me that perhaps even he was getting a tad bored with the “slowcore” dynamics of his dayjob.

So you can imagine I was excited to catch Retribution Gospel Choir when they played a show at The Drake on Jan. 25 … but I got really sick and was unable to go, so I thought why not a CD review instead? 

Retribution Gospel Choir is definitely a more riff oriented affair than anything from Low’s back catalogue.  In fact, a couple of these tracks could probably be slipped into the Q107 playlist without anyone making too much of a fuss.  “Workin’ Hard” kicks out the jams like Boston or some other geographically named 70s rock band who enjoys endin’ words with apostrophes while “Poor Man’s Daughter” busts out some Crazy Horse-isms and “White Wolf” rides a riff that’s slightly reminiscent of a combo of ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds” and Danzig’s “Mother” while still sounding like an Alan Sparhawk song.  They even have a song called “Electric Guitar.”  How rock is that?

In a way, this is like a beefed up version of Low (bassist Steve Garrington also plays in both bands) and that is definitely a good thing.  Perhaps other performers on the softer side of the musical spectrum should consider changing things up for an album or a side project.  Imagine it – Bon Iver cranks it up to 11, John Darnielle recruits his favourite black metal musicians to play in The Mountain Goats … the possibilities are endless.

Be Sociable, Share!

Posted on by Paul in Albums, Everything

Add a Comment