Sunburned Hand of the Man | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Sunburned Hand of the Man


This double LP by the New England percussion-heavy collective does nothing to tighten the band's reins or edit the sprawl found on previous releases. In fact, Wedlock is tribal-avant-stoner groove as field recording. Edited from performances taped either on the road to or in Alaska for a friend's wedding, shards of conversation, piano plinkings and some North Mississippi hill country-inspired slide guitar with sirens drop randomly from the speakers before the initial reverb-heavy gumbo fills out side one. This is pre-wedding musical planning at its loosest. Elements of undulating, wah-wah enhanced vamps underpin echo-drenched growls, sometimes slipping into almost-funk, before coalescing and mutating over the bulk of sides two and three and finally dissolving into percussion lead mantras. There's a slight similarity between this LP and the Art Ensemble of Chicago's 4 side-long 1972 performance at Chicago's Mandel Hall; while someone locks into a steady bottom, elements are constantly being added and changed before coming apart altogether, sparking the next musical surge. Yet, because this is the work of a loose gang of democratic post-hippies, it's not always inspired. There are sections where their risk-taking finds them stalling for the next musical thread, treading on what's already finished. But by the middle of side four, all that clattering and laughter has amalgamated once again and the final, slowly surging drone they ride out on is a little piece of heaven.

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