The Red Krayola

Record review

Texas Platters

The Red Krayola

Introduction (Drag City)

Founded in Houston circa 1966, Mayo Thompson's Red Krayola has surfed the margins for 40 years, gingerly transiting through psychedelia, punk, and post-rock while maintaining consistent fealty to Thompson's sonic experimentalism. Though Introduction is riddled with more moments of pop-oriented melodic clarity than one might expect from the Red Krayola, Thompson almost always steers away from easy resolutions. Recorded by Tortoise/Gastr del Sol drummer John McEntire with a Chicago-centric cast of fellow travelers, the album is a highly eclectic glide through folk, blues, electronic, and post-punk. Thompson's stream-of-consciousness demands a steadfast willingness to meander, example one coming on "Breakout," his sparse blues variation on "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." Although the song starts to wooze out on the fumes of its own languor after five minutes, this helps make the lush piano pop proclivity of "Note to Selves" all the more effervescent. "Psy Ops" conjures up anxious tweak by crashing a Richard Hell-flavored guitar riff into Thompson's terse recital of psychoactive side effects. Although Introduction loses something in the murk following the Beefheart blues hypnosis of "Greasy Street," that challenge might be an invitation to stout-minded free-formers.

**.5

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