The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, April 30, 2010, Music

Black Bone Child


Black Bone Child

Take You Blind

Black Bone Child's barreling, black-denim blues-rock boasts a full tank in the wake of the band's eponymous debut in 2008, and the local quartet's pair of simultaneous new releases is as ambitious as the Black Crowes' complementary releases last year, Before the Frost ... and ... Until the Freeze. Alligator's steel, wood, and high watts hit a fifth gear that BBC engages effortlessly live on second cut "Be Your Man," while the fiery harp licking at "Baby Baby" crackles Memphis Minnie by way of Led Zeppelin and the arc light slide pouring kerosene on "Little Bird" lets fly like a bar fight. Equally, the blacktop roar of "Turn It Up" gets undercut by a car ad chorus, and "This Disease" panders to the worst of modern rock radio, but mostly, Alligator simply can't deliver the band's live roundhouse on disc. Better is EP-length acoustic addendum Take You Blind, which manages an Alice in Chains Jar of Flies-like reveal. Stripped of stomp, the swamp emerges good and thick, as on the heavy, slide-slicked "By My Hand." Especially Jerry Cantrell is "Tell Me I'm Wrong," a strummed lap slap inlaid with harp and leaning toward a dirge. "The Flames Are Warm," the only song on both CDs, generates more conviction by being less plugged. Donny James' rawhide vocals on "Mine" and "Ask for Forgiveness" are a step up from the usual house whiskey; spare closing plea "Dying for Your Love" shoots a perfect end note. Just under an hour combined, Alligator and Take You Blind are symbiotic enough to have been mixed, matched, and edited into one 40-minute road hog.

(Together) **.5

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