|Heron King Blues||2004||2.12/pi|
Lineup: Tim Rutili: guitar, vocals, miscellany. Backed by a random, ever-changing array of friends and enemies.
If you’ve heard Califone’s previous outings, you should know what to expect here: a warm, murky guitar soup topped with rattling kitchen sink percussion, Tim Rutili’s mumbling pseudo-bluesman vocals, and a blatant disregard for the rules of pop music. Quicksand/Cradlesnakes might be a slightly better album…but then again, you might just want to pick the one with the prettiest album cover.
It’s not that there are no melodies here, but there is never any attempt to bring them to the forefront of the material. This is not music that is going to reach out and grab you, although it does have its own homecooked allure—I can’t quite pin down what makes “2 Sisters Drunk on Each Other” so compelling, but it’s undoubtedly the best wailing post-apocalyptic steampunk blues-funk jam you’re likely to hear this year.
Sadly, “2 Sisters” fades out after 5 minutes to make room for the title track, a meandering 15 minute improvisation so grimy, just listening to it gave me tetanus. The band eventually wears out its welcome, like that dirty, smelly hobo sleeping on my sofa. But unlike that hobo, I’ll probably be inviting Califone back again. They may not be pretty, but they make interesting dinner guests. Most of the time.