the graft didn’t take

Duluth, Minnesota, home to Retribution Gospel Choir, is a cold, gray place. The natural expectation would be for art to reflect flat cold of the region, but RGC somehow channels the static into something beautiful and pulsating with life on 2.

The album carries a bass heartbeat throughout, ticking away the 34-minute sophomore release. Everything on the album sounds familiar, but with a few exceptions it’s hard to pinpoint any one influence, leading to something original. Counterintuitive, but trust me on this one. Fat guitars with gnarly solos, skittering, skipping cymbals that crash into expansive drum rolls, vinyl crackles and radio static populate 2, giving it the feeling of being tuned in from another time and place.

The front end of 2 is a little more in the straightforward, bar band-friendly vein, and offers up the best candidates for singles and new listeners, particularly “Hide It Away“. That’s not to say the rest of the album is lacking; the sounds and concepts build on each other, creating a thicker, denser listen as you go along, releasing in the last song with the band’s cry for a blessing, for RGC “put our hearts in the promised land / we buried ourselves in the arms of our enemies / so the last thing I need is a lover”.

2 drops 01/26/10.
Download “Hide It Away” here.

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