Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ The Magic Door (Silver Arrow, 2012)
It's only been three months since the CRB's debut album was released, and here we already have another long player in our hands. Crazy. I suspect that they were recorded simultaneously since they have been on the road for months. Still, it's like they kept the better songs for the second album. This one seems to lean a bit more, if that makes any sense. The first album was a tad more mellow, but this one just leans, man.
Vibration & Light Suite is the star of the set, with the greatest organ/keyboard solo this side of Jon Lord. For real. Adam MacDougall is the man. The whole band is flippin' great, though. Tasteful playing, good harmonies, good songs. Like Ragu, it's in there. These cats can't be from this dimension. I bet they travel to gigs in flying saucers or through wormholes.
It was interesting to see reworkings of two previously released Chris Robinson tunes. Someday Past The Sunset was released acoustically on the 2007 Brothers of a Feather live album. Here, it is sped up a little bit and performed with the full band. It feels like a totally different song. Appaloosa was released on The Black Crowes' 2009 double album Before the Frost...Until the Freeze. It seems more melancholy here, maybe due to the more relaxed manner that it is played in. It's still cool regardless.
Like any album that Chris Robinson is involved in, be it The Black Crowes, The New Earth Mud, or this band, a new release is like finding some classic album in a record store that you never knew existed. There is artistic progression from album to album, but it is never done for the sake of modernizing or following trends, which is cool because time stopped in the '70s for me.
On the OCD side of things, I'll discuss the packaging. It is a gatefold cardboard digipak with a sleeve on the CD like one would find on a record. I'm not sure why, but this is totally badass to me and I wish that every band did it because I dig the extra pictures. There is no booklet because all of the information is listed on the jacket and sleeve.
I bought it on CD because I am ahead of the curve retro for 2024. In 12 years everyone will be scouring vintage stores and eBay for CDs because they will be retro. Like someone who was into vinyl circa 1990, I will not listen to the naysayers who tell me to switch formats. I'll be here waiting for y'all to come back to the CD. I'll save you a seat, man.
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