Equally versed in progressive blues and smartass alt-rock, Churchwood remains a band Austin deserves. Poetry professor Joe Doerr channels his wordplay through gravel-gargling magnificence. Based in but not bound by blues, guitarists Billysteve Korpi and Bill Anderson miscegenate riffs that could power the songs on their own, making terms like "lead" and "rhythm" meaningless. Adam Kahan and Julien Peterson bend with the rhythmic winds of their bandmates without ever uprooting the beat. Thus fortified, 3: Trickgnosis drags Americana through the alley and into the woods, bathing her afterward but leaving her dress dirty. The wild-eyed "Hanged Man," lowdown "Eminence Gris Gris," and murderous "I Spit You Out" bury the blues deep in the recesses of Chester Burnett's darkest imagination. "Drapetomaniac" gets drunk on the set of a spaghetti Western, while "Chemtrailer Trash" breaks into the nearest garage and desecrates the place. The falsetto weirdness of "Triptych" inhabits a hallucinogenic dimension floating through mushroom fantasies instead of booze nightmares. This third effort invades the parlor in a stylish suit and advanced state of dementia, spewing compelling tales and brilliant asides even as its breath could kill a rhino.
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