Crippled Black Phoenix - I, Vigilante
With last years ambitious and quietly impressive double-album The Ressurectionists/Night Raider, Crippled Black Phoenix elevated themselves from being a mere post-rock/doom super-group of sorts, to being a fully-fledged and brilliantly grandiose beast of itself. That album took the band in a decidedly proggy direction, coming across as an adrenaline fuelled Pink Floyd. I, Vigilante sees Justine Greaves and co stepping even further into Floydian territory.
While described as an almost stop-gap between last year's album and the next full-length, I,Vigilante is a lengthy 45 minutes in itself and the tracks on offer aren’t measly cut-offs. Opening track ‘Troublemaker’ begins with some doomy open chords before descending into the psych-tinged prog epic that CBP explored on the previous record. Melancholy and rather beguilingly simple, this track does not disappoint.
The most telling detail of these recordings is that they aren’t as layered, while instrumentally complex as usual. Here the odd splashes of piano and subtle bubbling organ appear around typical rock fare, but on tracks like the achingly wonderful ‘We Forgotten Who We Are’ this approach gives a lot more room for each instrumentalist to be able to express themselves fully.
Returning to the Pink Floyd theme, ‘Bastogne Blues’ has a touch of Roger Waters to it. A tribute to WW2 veterans at The Battle of the Bulge, the spoken word introduction has a touch of Waters' historical fascinations mixed with the sparse and subtle soundscapes of GYBE!. If this is intended as a mere glimpse of what to come from this enchanting act, then we will be in for a treat when the next full-length materialises.