Eleventh Dream Day Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey)
Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey)
Reviewed by Christopher Hess, Fri., Nov. 10, 2000
Eleventh Dream Day
Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey)Though we here in Austin stand an ice cube's chance in Laredo of ever seeing Eleventh Dream Day play live, which is where the enigmatic trio demonstrates why they've been underground figureheads of the Chicago rock world for so many years, the depth and breadth of their recorded catalog offers enough material to keep a new fan occupied for years. That includes their newest Thrill Jockey release, Stalled Parade. Eleventh Dream Day gained notoriety in the late Eighties by mastering the loud, skronky divide between the Velvet Underground and Midwestern garage rock, but the band's later material evolved along the more avant lines of singer/guitarist Rick Rizzo's solo work as well as that of bassist Doug McCombs' other band, Tortoise. On Stalled Parade, however, they've abandoned the more staid arrangements that began in earnest with 1994's Ursa Major, returning to the edgy rock structures and jams that made their music from '93's El Moodio on back so obstinately original. Drummer/singer Janet Beveridge Bean, also of dark country duo Freakwater, sings slow and eerie on "Valrico74," a gorgeous, spooky tune, then uncharacteristically upbeat on "Bite the Hand." Hubbie Rizzo then fills the rest of the album with stellar rave-ups ("Ice Storm") and gigantic guitar anthems ("Ground Point Zero"). "In the Style Of" smacks of Crazy Horse, as the band so often does, a long, unruly guitar solo dominating the back end of the tune. Besides the fact that it's a great album, Stalled Parade is worthy for another reason: It shows that artistic commitment and dignity can coincide with longevity in the music business.