Friday, May 23, 2014

Wild Crush On Archie Bronson Outfit

Archie Bronson Outfit
There isn't anything glorious about the Archie Bronson Outfit. The London-based three (now four) piece has been playing a familiar set list since they met up in Bath in the 1990s. They just improve upon it.

After their smartly promising debut, Fur, put out by Domino ten years or so ago, Sam Windett (vocals, lead guitar), Dorian Hobday (bass, guitar) and Mark Cleveland (drums) followed it up with the exceptionally appointed Derdang Derdang. Both albums earned well deserved acclaim, but never seemed to find a stateside audience that would stick with them. By the time they put out a third, it seemed like the band had started over, slowly working their way up the college playlists again.

Four more years between albums finds them in the same curious position, except without Hobday. Aside from the 7-inch I Was A Dead Duck surprise last year, it's going to take another round of rediscovery to reunite the Archie Bronson Outfit with fans on this side of the pond. And there is plenty to rediscover, including Kristian "Kapital K" Robinson (keyboard) and Duke Garwood (sax).

Wild Crush is a gritty, no-good reintroduction from old friends.

After spacing out in the West Country for a couple years, the renewed Archie Bronson Outfit has twice the experience and half the polish of previous outings. They even have a cover that Windett and Cleveland originally laid down as part The Pyramids side project a few years ago. It lives again.

Don't expect that song on the 9-track album to draw in too much attention compared to the balance. We Are Floating is the big reunion piece. It's all about moving forward and, good or bad, it doesn't really matter. You already own it anyway.

Some might even think of the song as autobiographical, given Archie Bronson Outfit isn't as experimental as much as they have settled into capitalizing on big hooks, rumbling drums, and Windett's vocals in various degrees of distortion.

The biggest vocal distortion takes place in Two Doves On A Lake, which provides a thunderous open that could have only been made more enjoyable had the vocal distortion not put Windett under water. Long-time fans will probably forgive it and settle into the psych rock instrumental.

He sounds better on In White Relief, even if the composition feels more like a psych pop expression than the garage rock the Archie Bronson Outfit can put out without notice. Just don't expect to hear any of it in Love To Pin You Down, a croaky sax-backed bluesy drifter.

Lori From The Outer Reaches hits the mark as euphoric breath before trying to build back some momentum in Cluster Up And Hover. The track relies heavily on its rawness, accidental spontaneity, and strained vocals to set a new tone. Except, the track list never capitalizes on it. Glory, Sweat and Flow underwhelms. Swapping it with the raucous runaway Hunch Your Body, Love Somebody would have better served the album all around.

The underrated closer, Country Miles, brings the album to a smooth finish. It also completes the sentiment expressed in We Are Floating. In Country Miles, the band is at the end of the album, with no reason to look back unless you're ready to listen again from the beginning.

Wild Crush By Archie Bronson Outfit Ravages 7.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

The Archie Bronson Outfit may not be the most polished psych band on the planet, but its this imperfection that makes them memorable. They frequently play right up to the edge of unraveling, but somehow manage to keep everything together despite it all. And that's the point. Wild Crush is about the search for salvation and finding it only after you finally let go.

You can find Wild Crush on Amazon or download the album from iTunes. Barnes & Noble carries Wild Crush by the Archie Bronson Outfit on vinyl. For the band' upcoming tour schedule, visit them on Facebook. Most planned shows are in Europe and the United Kingdom for now.
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