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Benevento/Russo Duo

Play Pause Stop

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

Benevento/Russo Duo

Play Pause Stop (Butter Problems/Reincarnate)

Duos are the new power trio. Marco Benevento and Joe Russo face each other across keyboards and drums like musical cosmonauts tag-teaming the capsule's power grid. NYC's right stuff light up their fourth galaxy, hot on the heels of 2005's Best Reason to Buy the Sun, an appropriately searing fusion of Benevento's charbroiled organ and Russo's Sahara beat-down. Follow-through Play Pause Stop fast-forwards through less hot spots than its predecessor, but burns atomic energy at a new, more efficient rate not likely to dim either conceptually or compositionally over time. Opening Play, a haunted, nearly eight-minute temple of chords strung together from a single note, blasts into the High Chaparral heroism of "Echo Park." The last LP's absent title track, here, won't let up its arcade ring tone and drum barrage. B's Wurlitzer and Mellotron fuzz out dreamy, venturing, melancholy chord progressions with cracklin' static electricity, while Russo sprays lava. Better still, the bashing pleas of "Powder" push non-extant words just outside memory's reach. In fact, most of Play Pause Stop transmits inaudible lyrics. Where the blazes is Wayne Coyne on "Something for Rockets," for starters? Pulsing, crashing, meltdown "Hate Frame," however, is instrumental only, as is closing Santo & Johnny hopalong "Memphis." Repeat. (Friday, 11:45am, Heineken stage)

***

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