June 14, 2006

Review: Archie Bronson Outfit | Derdang Derdang

Archie Bronson Outfit -- Derdang DerdangThere's blues, there's boogie and there's dread. And we suspect the music blognoscenti largely won't know what to think when gritty Brit combo Archie Bronson Outfit's Derdang Derdang finally streets stateside in August. Fortunately, we got in on the ground floor when we reviewed the band's debut here last year, and knew what to expect. It's not that the music on Derdang Derdang is very unusual, but it is sharply anachronistic, evoking as it (and its predecessor Fur) does the bar-blues sounds that grooved guys with surnames like Mayall, Beck and Iommi some 40 years ago. Still, it is more than the curious non-timing of the trio's sophomore set for Domino that may raise an eyebrow. The very character of the record, which vacillates between the yowling of a man on the edge ("Rituals") to go-go dancer boogie (the infectious, bouncing single "Dart For My Sweetheart" [video]), is harder to pigeonhole than a single listen might suggest.

Opener "Cherry Lips" packs enough Freudian apprehension into its lyrics to give an undergraduate solid term paper fodder. The pessimistic and primal howler "How I Sang Dang," segues into the dark downer "Rituals," during which singer Sam Windett's howls will make you wonder just how many steps away from the first Black Sabbath record are we, really? The song's deliciously unsettling vibe is driven home by psycho wailing reed playing by secret fourth Outfit member Duke Garwood, whose evocative playing pops up here and there on the record's 11 tracks. If forced to bluntly bullet-point Derdang Derdang we'd offer "British bar-blues act exorcises desperate anxiety and achieves remarkable drum sounds on second record." But, as "Dart For My Sweetheart" attests, there is a fraternal lightness to the set, too. We advise you to carry this disc around with you all summer to bars so you can drink along with it and plumb its depths.

[pre-order Derdang Derdang from Insound here]

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