Let It Roll (Uk)


aec.looe162.2 6/20/06 New
$16.99 $19.99

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    Let It Roll (Uk) Loose Music

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Review Text The Willard Grant Conspiracy really do "let it roll" on their sixth full-length studio effort, loosening up their well-established, stately, gothic Americana sound. While their music still has a somber, brooding feel, the group punctuates their sprawling songs with some squalling guitars. With its tracks averaging over six minutes, this disc might best capture Willard Grant's live show dynamics. Not surprisingly, the band did this recording in the middle of a European tour. The album starts off in rather familiar Willard Grant territory. The solemn opening tune, "Distance Shore" finds Willard Grant ringmaster Robert Fisher's signature deep, rich vocals intertwining with Dennis Cronin's solitary trumpet and Josh Hillman's mournful violin to create a haunting tale told from a battlefield soldier's point-of-view. It also sets up the ominous sense of morality that pervades the entire disc, as references to life and death, heaven and hell, and angels and skeletons surface throughout the songs. With the second tune, the nine-minute-plus title track, Fisher and company (WGC is a large collective of musicians) do some significant sonic stretching. The intense "Let It Roll" commences with a near-three-minute electric guitar and violin-fueled maelstrom and retains its power while dipping and soaring across a dark soundscape. A latter cut, "Crush," suggests the John Cale-era Velvet Underground bolstered by a dose of horns and industrial noise. Fisher howls himself hoarse while electric guitars roar on their rendition of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man," which emphasizes the song's foreboding qualities. "Flying Low," co-written with kindred spirit and former Dream Syndicate frontman Steve Wynn, offers some cautious optimism in the refrain: "I dreamed I saw the Angels flying low/They encompass all that is good I suppose." Fisher, however, sounds like he's trying to convince himself that this is true. There is an endearing beauty to the elegant (if slightly overlong) waltz "Dance with Me" and "Lady of the Snowline" closes the record with a bit of tranquil redemption. The song also benefits from its relative brevity; it is the album's only sub-four-minute tune. Occasionally, the album's epic-length numbers overextend themselves. "Breach," the second nine-plus-minute track, meanders more than it mesmerizes. Overall, however, Fisher and his cohorts succeed impressively in balancing the darkness and light, melancholy and hope, noise and quiet, and create something quite grand. ~ Michael Berick

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Distant Shore - 4:13
  2. 2. Let It Roll - 9:23
  3. 3. Dance with Me - 7:11
  4. 4. Skeleton - 5:03
  5. 5. Flying Low - 6:37
  6. 6. Breach - 9:22
  7. 7. Crush - 6:47
  8. 8. Mary of the Angels - 6:41
  9. 9. Ballad of a Thin Man - 6:08
  10. 10. Lady of the Snowline - 4:57

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