Poor Luther’s Bones
That The World May Sing Far Away Music, Honky
Weirdness for weirdness sake. That might sound better in Latin, but I don’t have the skill to translate it for a record review. However, it sums up my first impression of this Pennsylvania group. Opening cut “Co-pilots of the Amoeba” is a rambling sound collage, a la “Revolution No. 9.” After this little slap to the face of the listening public, we slide into a more traditional sound of melody and lyric. The sharp, pointy edges of rock and roll are sanded down, or maybe just knocked flat with a hammer on this prolific disc. Poor Luther starts with a sort of folksy, bluesy sound on such cuts as “La La Land” and “Weak Knees,” yet a harder edge develops on “Vipers” and we migrate to a more traditional rock sound. Yes, they do pass through a phase where they deign to play familiar sounding chords, sing edgy vocals and put forward that disorganized sound we come to expect from live shows in dive bars. That, too, passes, and we trek on to Pink Floyd of the Ummagumma days with mid-disc tunes like “Low Fly” and “Swooper 9.” If nothing else, this band will take you on a walk around the block.
Overall, this is a very challenging record which does not appeal that strongly on the first pass, but repeated spins bring out some interesting subtleties, and one can almost play a game of “What band does this track sound like?” I hear dozens, but the similarity is often subtle and subject to heated discussion. If you had to drive cross country with only this disc to entertain you, you’d either fall in love with it, or fling it into a Kansas wheatfield. I’m still deciding, but that’s not a bad thing, because it’s such a fine line between brilliant and futile.