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'Illinois River Valley Blues'   

-  Label: 'Thrill Jockey'
-  Genre: 'Ambient' -  Release Date: '24th February 2017'

Our Rating:
“To me a song is not worth writing if it doesn't have a strong sense of melancholy”. So says Tortoise's guitarist/bassist Douglas McCombs who first launched Brokeback as a side project in 1995.

For the band's fourth album,McCombs is joined by James Elkington (guitar, pedal steel, harmonica and organ), Areif Sless-Kitain (drums) and Pete Croke (bass) while Amalea Tshilds chips in with occasional wordless vocals.

The opening tune has the fine title Ride Ahead And Light The Way For Me and the album as a whole consists of road music for those who are no particular hurry to reach their destination.

Judging from the track titles, journey's end is likely to be a Midwestern town somewhere between Peoria and Chicago. Along the way there are hints of twang for what have been broadly labelled as "surf-toned, spaghetti western soundscapes".

On The Move And Vanishing is the longest track (6:52min) and an upbeat piece that briefly breaks the languid mood.

Otherwise, the ten classy instrumentals make for laid back and leisurely travel companions.

Brokeback's artist page at Thrill Jockey
  author: Martin Raybould

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BROKEBACK - Illinois River Valley Blues