Music Reviews

Scott Kelly

Spirit Bound Flesh

Neurot

2001 is shaping up to be Neurosis’ year, what with a career-defining/extending new album, the impending (as of this writing) “Beyond The Pale” festival they helped set up, great new records by Isis, Vitriol, Zeni Geva, and Tarentel on their own Neurot imprint, and now this, the debut solo record by founding member Scott Kelly. Much like fellow guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till’s As the Crow Flies last year, Kelly’s Spirit Bound Flesh is a largely stripped-down, all-acoustic affair, carrying the same density and intensity, sonically speaking, of Neurosis’ latest platter. And that makes perfect sense here, as the organic gloom n’ doom of A Sun That Never Sets gets pared down even further to a certain psychosis, one where Kelly•s laconic strums coax a suspended feeling: perpetually anticipating the next transition, yet never quite getting it. It’s the subtle details, however, like the lone, out-from-nowhere bell toll in “Through My Existence” and the briefly flanged distortion in “Flower,” that really make his gravelly, Tom Waits-on-methadone voice ring so resonantly throughout Spirit Bound Flesh, thusly turning the proceedings into something of a confessional; he even goes a cappella on “Sacred Heart,” rendering such plaintive pleas as “I ask God to lead me to light” even more ghostly. Of primary interest to Neurosis completists and fans of Swans’ most placid moments (“Failure,” “Was He Ever Alive?”), but the epitome of a “quiet triumph,” nonetheless.

Neurot Recordings, PO Box 410209, San Francisco, CA 94141; http://www.neurotrecordings.com, http://www.neurosis.com


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