Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review- Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ Phosphorescent Harvest

My copy does not have the oval with logo on it. 
Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ Phosphorescent Harvest (Silver Arrow, 2014)
It seems that if Chris Robinson is not touring (either solo or with The Black Crowes) then he is recording new material. I kid you not, this is the CRB's third LP in just under two years...and that is with this band being mothballed for 2013 while The Black Crowes were reactivated.
This album is a different beast than the two-headed monster that was Big Moon Ritual and The Magic Door. Those were two sides of the same coin, whereas this album is slicker and fresher sounding, easily the most produced thing that Chris has been a part of since Lions. Like the other CRB albums, there are plenty of songs that sink into your brain and sort of stick there. Badlands Here We Come is great. Many of these songs have been road tested over the years.
Phosphorescent Harvest is less rocking and more psychedelic than either of their previous albums, with songs like Clear Blue Sky & The Good Doctor shifting between choruses and quieter interludes. These songs sprawl on album and it will be interesting to see how far off the rails they go live. Tornado is a reworked version of The Black Crowes song, which seems to be something of a trend for this band. Jump The Turnstiles erupts into full blown '70s stadium Rock at around the 5 minute mark. They should have cut that song in half and kept that part for another tune.
The album proper ends with Burn Slow, a melancholy tune clocking in at over seven minutes. I enjoyed the layered sound of this album, as it was a stark contrast to the sweaty vibe of the first two albums. I bought this on CD, and it includes the bonus instrumental track Humboldt Windchimes. Vinyl buyers get this song and one additional song not on the CD or digital versions. The vinyl version has been recalled due to a manufacturing error which resulted in extreme surface noise on the first LP. (It is a 2 LP + 7” w/ 2 bonus track set). The CD comes in a LP-style cardboard sleeve complete with a cardboard inner sleeve and a decal.
The most interesting, and maddening, thing about the packaging is that nowhere on the CD, not on the cover, the spine, the disc, or the inner sleeve is the album title provided. When archaeologists in the 23rd century are digging through the remnants of civilization and they encounter this CD it will be a source of academic debate as to what to call this album. Kidding aside, this is a great album that has made the world seem right, if only for a bit.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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