"I'm coughing bullshit through my fist, crossing fables off my list/I turn the tables and resist the razor's edge against my wrist/The ship of state has locked its rudders in a tailspin/Let the keels be damned, set the sails to wind!" So rumbles Joe Doerr, Leroi Brother and college poetry professor, on "Keels Be Damned," seven minutes of salty trash talk over menacing gypsy rock. It's one of many highlights on freak blues cartel Churchwood's second LP, throughout which Doerr plays the mad genius, spinning $10 words into a briefcase full of gold bars, while riff addicts Bill Anderson and Billysteve Corpi mainline dual guitar heroics. The Julien Peterson/Adam Kahan rhythm section climaxes each track with game-changing breakdowns, musical equivalents to pulling a switchblade at a dice game. Only the arc hiccups slightly, as the perfectly schizophrenic "Devil in Me" and early single "A Message From Firmin Desloge" get followed by a smoldering three-song run that feels almost conventional by comparison. Nevertheless, every time you throw this long-player on, Captain Beefheart smiles down on Austin.
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