by Jack Diablo
Album Review: The Entrance Band – The Entrance Band
Label: Ecstatic Peace!/Universal Records
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Has the current state of the music industry got you down? Do you sometimes find yourself forced to suffer through bleeps and bloops, awash in digital noise, yearning for analog? Have you ever heard that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club jam with the chorus that asks, “Whatever happened to my rock and roll?” and truly wonder just what in fact did happen? Do synthesizers make you groan? Or maybe you appreciate electronic music, but deep down you long for the days when bands were made up of dudes playing their instruments.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you owe it to yourself to check out the Entrance Band’s self-titled debut album. The Entrance Band is psychedelic rock in its simplest, purest form. One guitar, a bass and drums – that’s all they are and quite frankly, that’s all they need.
While I won’t go so far as to say they are unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, they do a fine job of borrowing from classic styles to create something new. What started as guitarist/vocalist Guy Blakeslee’s solo project (under the moniker, Entrance) became a full band just three years ago adding Derek W. James (bass) and Paz Lenchantin to the roster. Fresh off a tour with Sonic Youth, they have teamed up with Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label and Universal Records to create an album that is nothing if not a breath of fresh air.
Even though the sound has an undeniable nostalgia to it, the music is made for these times. Just listen to ‘M.L.K.,’ a Southern jam in the vein of Black Crowes that attacks meaningless political rhetoric devoid of action with incendiary lyrics like “I voted for change, didn’t change anything.” Somewhere about halfway through, the record really picks up momentum. Beginning with ‘Sing For the One,’ a Black Sabbath-esque tune replete with shredding guitar and drum solos, the psychedelic Southern metal sound continues with ‘You’re So Fine’ and ‘Grim Reaper Blues (pt. 2),’ both of which clocking in at over six minutes of righteous sonic exploration. By the time you reach the atmospheric ‘You Must Turn,’ the Entrance Band’s introspective lyrics will have you questioning the fabric of your reality as Blakeslee howls, “Do you see the prison walls you build around yourself?” The progression of the album moves from the familiar pop of ‘Lookout!’ to darker and headier waters, culminating in the consciousness-expanding finale, ‘Hourglass.’
If you’re into bands like Dead Meadow and perhaps even St. Augustine’s Bermuda, you’ll find something familiar in the Entrance Band. And you’ll probably love it.
The Entrance Band
by Jack Diablo