Hex City (Saustex)
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Nov. 25, 2016
Homegrown quintet with an impossibly cool pedigree – LeRoi Brothers, Crack Pipes, Hand of Glory, Poison 13, etc. – Churchwood twists America's most venerable music form into shapes Delta denizens would never have imagined. Fourth LP Hex City keeps that faith, beginning with a mbira-like clutter, 12-string growl, and sociopolitical noirscape to "You Let the Dead In." Fractured rhythms keep 12 bars at bay without sounding strained, bassist Adam Kahan and drummer Julien Peterson as fluid as motor oil. Guitarists Bill Anderson and Billysteve Korpi continue their crosstalk odyssey to make "lead," "rhythm," and "fill" irrelevant. Belter Joe Doerr somehow makes his relentless barrage of lyrics not sound like word yak, knowing exactly when to drop the wordplay for something simple and true. Careening from the herky-jerky "One Big White Nightmare" to the roiling "Metanoia" and flat-out rocking "Hallelujah," Churchwood gleefully tests the blues for flexibility.