Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Nov. 25, 2005
Tanglewood (K Woo)
The Black flows from the songwriting collaboration of singer/guitarist David Longoria and guitarist Alan Schaefer, and their ears are trained toward Seventies Southern rock; they have an affinity for the Band, if not in their swagger than in the several live songs they've covered. The Black seems as misnomer, though, as the songs here radiate. Opener "Cell Block" is slap-happy pop, threaded with Longoria's lyrics ("How's your cell block treating you? What can I say it's my cell block too"), while "Appletree" has an unmistakable Beatles bop to it. The jazzy piano line on "Disrespecting Dirt" and its equally infectious stompy guitar flows into the twang of "Silverfist" with its double-fisted black suit wallop of cigarette smoke and stale beer. "One Second to One" floats underneath beautifully orchestrated ebbs and flows (with viola and cello courtesy of Trail of Dead's Conrad Keely) and Andy Morales' spare drumming. The melody and organ of "Wasn't It a Good Year" rises above the smoke with Longoria's lovelorn resignation ("I could keep all the letters in a shoebox. Remember I would only have to summon their words for an hour"). Closer "JB Lenoir Street" invokes the fuzzed-out Seventies breakdown that radiates the blacks and golds and blues all over.