The Goatbox Rebel has constructed a thoroughly post-modern take on the blues. Transplanted into the 21st century, the music fuses analog crunch and buzz with digital thrum to create a compelling and fascinating re-casting of one of the foundational sources of rock and roll, given a new electrical tension from the fusion of man and machine.Classic blues themes are re-invigorated and explored from new angles, stitched together with ghostly electronics to create a new variation on the form, one that shimmers and thumps with all the frequencies of the current planet.
“401” opens the album with a classic driving song, marrying crunchy modal riffs with an inhumanly insistent groove. Growling away in search of answers, the song propels straight away into a journey through fractured blues imagery and snapping strings. The concept of forward motion, of continual discovery, runs through the veins of the song like a cold chill.
“Ne’er-Do-Wells” explores another side of traditional blues storytelling. Over scraping slide licks and a simple punchy drum, The Goatbox Rebel reveals his mythological tale of splitting town for a life in music, complete with the hero’s journey into hardship and eventual triumph. The blues, like all forms, demands its sacrifice and in the end the only real option is obvious. If you are possessed to make music, the impulse is irresistible.
In the end, we’re all destined for “The Promised Land“. This song crawls in a sinister and creepy way, like a depraved man begging for entrance into the temple. Over an ostinato groove, The Goatbox Rebel unleashes a torrent of howling licks while the beat lurches toward epiphany. The price of entrance is experience, and you can’t hide when the ghosts decide to haunt you.
A song about a deceitful, evil woman, “Born With A Tail” unfolds with a kind of threatening tenderness, belying the seductiveness of the subject. Attracted and repelled at the same time, the gently thrumming acoustic and sparse percussion give a texture and sense of space. “That serpent grin will be the death of me,” he warns, reminding that all that is beautiful does not always contain peace.
“My Home, My Coffin” is an acoustic prayer, spiralling out from a lonely slide guitar into a reverberated rain storm. Sand whips the air and cleanses the eyes, and droplets hang suspended, mocking the passage of time.
The Goatbox Rebel has re-made the haunted world of blues melodies and symbols in his own image. Enjoy this endless reincarnation and feel the collision of the ancient and futuristic.
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