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Crippled Black Phoenix

200 Tons of Bad Luck

(Invada; US: 14 Apr 2009; UK: 27 Apr 2009)

Blurring the lines between stoner-rock and post-rock is Crippled Black Phoenix’s sophomore record 200 Tons of Bad Luck. And it blurs those subgenre lines by tossing in chugging riffs to sit aside the mounting crescendos. It’s all done effortlessly, too, almost lazily, though that’s not a knock at all. The matter of the fact is the group features members from Mogwai, Gonga, and Iron Monkey, among others. So it only makes sense that the end result of their combined influences wouldn’t fit so neatly inside any kind of musical box. And they really cram in as much experimentation as they can, too, especially on 200 Tons. The 77-minute epic is absolutely far too long for some. But it is certainly worth sticking around for, even if the third track—a three-part, 18-minute “Time of Ye Life/Born For Nothing/Paranoid Arm of Narcoleptic Empire”—appears daunting. Because once you hit the gorgeous burner “Crossing the Bar” and the mild-mannered rock jam “Whissendine”, it all starts to truly come together. The group almost loses you at the end with “A Lack of Common Sense”, but the pace returns for “I Am Free, Today I Perished”, a slick combination of bar-room balladry and swelling guitar-rock.

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Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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