Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band
The Entrance Band
Ecstatic Peace

This, the fourth full-length album from guitar virtuoso Guy Blakeslee, is a revelation. I had the good fortune of seeing Entrance, now The Entrance Band, with full-time contributors Paz Lenchantin (ex-A Perfect Circle, ex-Zwan) on bass and the ├╝ber-talented Derek James on drums open for Sonic Youth earlier in the year. In the months following, I found myself trying to hunt down all of the albums I could and was largely disappointed in what I had gathered.

I first acquired 2004's Wandering Stranger and based on the covers that Blakeslee chose, I expected an effort the likes of Chris Whitley and instead heard something far more amateurish. Then there was Prayer Of Death and it contained at least a hint of the brilliance that I had seen in concert, including the track, "Grim Reaper Blues," (which has been changed a bit for this album with more clear sound). There was still something missing here and I do believe Blakeslee has found it with a now full-time collaboration with Lenchantin.

With Lenchantin and James in tow, Blakeslee concentrates on actual songcraftsmanship more than just guitar improvisation and the results are startling. Or they would have been had I not seen it before me months ago. The standout tracks that they knocked out that night ("M.L.K." and "Lookout!") are no less impressive on record and there are some welcome great new tunes as well ("Lives" and "This Is Why"). The presence of the Entrance Band is understandably missing from their live performance but not the power. Definitely a band on the rise and a force to be reckoned with.

Track Grades
  1. Lookout! – 9.0
  2. M.L.K. – 9.2
  3. Still Be There – 8.1
  4. Sing For The One – 7.5
  5. You're So Fine – 6.3
  6. Grim Reaper Blues (Part 2) – 8.8
  7. That Is Why – 9.2
  8. Lives – 9.3
  9. You Must Turn – 7.3
  10. Hourglass – 7.9

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