'The Ceaseless Sight'
(The End Records)
Release Date: Out Now!
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
You can take the man out of The Black Crowes, but you cannot take The Black Crowes out of the man. That sums up this album review.
I could and perhaps should stop at this point without elaborating any further, as I feel that sentence best represents how I feel after spinning this disc several times. It isn't a criticism either as I adore The 'Crowes with all their flair, quirks and deviations, insights, articulations and eloquence.
Cheekily the artwork incorporates the font used on The 'Crowes seminal 'The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion' album which is that hand-written presentation. They call it "Freestyle Script". This doesn't mean the music is of the same stature or approach. It sounds like another 'Crowes album for sure but perhaps more along the lines of 'Three Snakes and One Charm' mixed with 'Warpaint'.
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I'm constantly distracted with thoughts pondering over what Chris Robinson, Rich's Brother, thinks of it all. My thoughts constantly move to thinking how the album would translate with Chris behind the lead vocals too, which as it happens isn't too far to imagine when you hear Rich presenting his vocal style. Once you wrestle those meanderings of the mind to the floor and rejoice in the music that makes up 'The Ceaseless Light', it's not hard to handle.
Highlights like 'The Giving Key', 'Inside' and 'Down The Road' amongst many others just go to prove what a talent Rich Robinson is and how integral to the overall 'Crowes sound he is. I guess we already knew of this, but during moments like this album it only goes to reiterate and remind of such values.
Marco Benevento dabbles with some delicate keys throughout except on 'Down The Road' where Steve Molitz gets the credit. Joe Magistro is essential and solid on the various forms of drum and percussion with Amy Helm doing a sterling job on vocals during 'The Giving Key' and 'One Road Hill'. Katrine Ottosen does an excellent job on 'The Unfortunate Show' which proves to be another moment of class.
'The Ceaseless Sight' wraps things up by offering a pleasant instrumental in the shape of 'Obscure The Day' which I personally could have lived without, but it's inoffensive nevertheless celebrating the vibe and tempo of the overall album. It all feels totally at home as I look out the window to see a mild and lazy hazy day. The momentum of these proceedings might sway me towards the kettle and putting on a brew, but it's not going to inject some vital energy in me.
To describe the album, I would say it is organic and perhaps contains a wee bit of a rustic feel which enchants from track one right through to track 12. 'The Ceaseless Sight' is a good album but not an excellent one. My heart and my mind both say without any hesitation that it entertains and provides pleasant companionship but constantly taps on the shoulder whispering things like "Where is Chris Robinson, and what would he make of this?"
It is unfair I understand to continually bring him in to what is a Rich Robinson exclusive exhibition. But somehow, I don't suspect I'm alone with these distractions.
I Know You
Down The Road
One Road Hill
The Giving Key
This Unfortunate Show
In Comes The Night
I Have A Feeling
Trial And Faith
Obscure The Day