(I was just beginning to think out loud, whether this band was close to attaining something like urban legend status... a comet that burned too brightly in its all too brief stream across Detroit's skies... here's the original manuscript of my review of this album, written a few months back...untouched...running on pure inspiration, with headphones and multiple listens...)
Well, I don’t know…really, how to start; I’m going back, in my mind, to the first time I saw Black Lodge and how I couldn’t talk to my friends at the show until they were done. How…I was drawn by, I suppose, their conjuring of a cathartic dark-edge, a keyed-up, blistering brutishness, bending it all into a stunning tightness as an ensemble, each corner and crevice of the sound’s engine seemed to spit a bit of its own fire.
I couldn’t tell if I was watching some completely ratty post-punk thing or a more late 60’s surf-toned psychedelic thing…everything was so distinct, the clanging cutting guitars, the bass blurts, the drum bursts, the fast bawling, incanting deep-boom vocals.
The Detroit quartet got into a room with Chris Koltay and worked to capture their natural strengths: …Strong rhythm section – surfy guitars – soulful, beat-punk gut-punch garage – somewhere here in the music is the reason why this seems to transcend the rest of the derivative crop – and it’s something much more than just Kyle’s throaty howls and low-croony-screams, it’s something more than Steve’s break-neck kit jitters, something more than Matt’s slick r&b-by-way-of-post-punk bass waves and something more than Nick’s devastating, pedal-torched rain and roar soloing sashays.
Maybe it goes back to their live shows: touched with an equal amount of atavistic rawk-vile and soul as much as it is with undeniably dancey-grooves, blanketed with a sobering and disarming, theatrical goosebump-gorging anthem thing but also twisted with a bit of a society-mocking sneer wrapped in a style both dapper-sage and rebel-yell. And, as a couple of the seven-minute-plus-entries here display, their live shows can also grow into these wall-destroying swarms of guitar fuzz, unrelenting-‘till-the-end-o’-the-line’-drum-pounds.
Black Lodge have come close to making that idyllic rock record that seems to be clanging around in the heads of so many over-cribbed-aristocrats of music’s Olympus, yet never seemed to coalesce
… guitars gracefully lily-pad-leap from jangly strums to fuzz-fucked-furls to striding sun-soaked surf (“The Rats”)…the drums flex a supplemental march for the building jams that can easily tip over the top-arch of the roller coaster and accelerate into a body-arresting tremor (“You Leave Me Waiting”), …the bass grooves can ride a brooding wave like those wavy post-punk hunched subdued shimmy thing (“Love Is The Answer”) …and just as easily brighten into a more playful and bending-groan ala new wave or a more classy soul/jazz thing (“Who You Gonna Run To”)…. and the vocals…a sing-speak-howl, low-to-mid groan that might initially conjure Morrison at points but with more fragility…but that fragility comes paired with a fervor and the sense that the word’s singer is truly losing himself, not just in the fire of his three mate’s soul-punk-sunshine-rampage – but in the theatricality those words demand.
Apocalyptic, as rock n roll should be, but all-inclusive, as MUSIC should be, intelligent as any societal commentary should be, but sometimes uncontrollably burning, as love should be…
And maybe Black Lodge isn’t all this to you – but then, why does this listener find all of these words from listening to this album.