Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spirit Caravan — Jug Fulla Sun [1999]

Wino Weinreich is one of the most under appreciated and inventive guitarists you've never taken the time to hear out. When he wasn't busy with reviving The Obsessed (who will have their own place on this blog, sometime), or moving on to more political tunes (the first Hidden Hand record), he was cranking out riff after classic motherfucking riff on this debut from Spirit Caravan, the short-lived side project from Wino before he announced his arrival in Place of Skulls and the aforementioned. While he was always a fan favorite for the doom scene, he elevates himself to livingfuckinglegend within the first half of this album. I hate to sound stale by working in those overused adjectives that I did in the first sentence, here, but the guys ability to churn out head-banging, catchy leads is unrivaled and you'll know it right up front, with "hate on you can look real pretty," the albums first lyric of archetypal biker-rock. This, along with some of the shorter pieces here, rank among the man's best (and most FUN (which doesn't see enough love in metal)) song writing. The preceding break, with its 'primal' half-time drumming cannot help but form itself into a Vitus song of old when you hear it. Some may say this is treading old ground, but others would say you're not a doom fan. Song like "Courage" and "Fang" have such simple guitar melodies its a wonder that they work on the high level that they do; that is, live up to the stature of slower, less melodic pieces that he's known for (Born Too Late). But the wonder has a direct answer in Winos guitar tone, a thing that gets no love in this digitally-produced age of pussies. Listening to "Powertime" for the first time makes this seem obvious; a simple, Iommi-influenced riff that brings into being what may be Wino's most shining three minutes in his entire career, both vocally and otherwise. The following, and title, track only ups the ante, by simultaneously paying homage to Sleep (with its instrumental anticipation) while keeping things on the clean end for the first half of the song, before really smacking you around with its almost pop chorus. The only complaint, and it's very minor, is that the album wears a bit thin toward the end, especially with such a large amount of marijuana haze and whiskey-stained-vox within the first six tracks. Whatever... Every track has at least one completely menacing guitar riff, and Wino has never sounded so good. This is a classic album of newer-age doom from a guy whose entire career has revolved around a single, but undeniable, perfecting sound -- this is the culmination of that very tone.

Genre: Doom/Stoner
Label: Tolatta Records
Origin: Leather-lovin' Cali
Bitrate: 256k
Gonna ride in the cloud-swept sky