Monday, September 21, 2015
Where: The Southern
Cost: $8 Advance / $10 Day of Show
Crucial to HEAL's scaling-the-walls of sound was the man who Showalter chose to mix the record, the stellar alt-rock icon John Congleton. Showalter also re-connected with Ben Vehorn, synth expert and studio engineer extraordinaire, and Verhorn's drummer pal Steve Clements who provides HEAL's thunderous, sinewy drive. Songs such as "Shut In", "Plymouth" and "Woke Up To The Light" have a classic construction and mood, recalling '70s power-pop/ballads and the melodic, yearning ache of Big Star's late, great Chris Bell. Many of the songs on HEAL reveal an electronic undercarriage and towering drums that push the album's wired dynamic to its stretching point, especially on "For Me", which expertly bridges the album's twin decades of influences. And if "Goshen '97" recalls the molten energy of Dinosaur Jr, that actually is J Mascis on lead guitar.
Title track "Heal" climaxes with Showalter's fabulously brazen guitar solo, electronically tweaked for maximum impact. Despite the initials, the album's smouldering seven-minute epic "JM" is not a Mascis tribute, but to the late Jason Molina, about having his music as comfort no matter how bad things get.