I-94 Bar: The Revellions “Give It Time”
Here’s an album that starts relatively sedately, grows a brass section and descends into off-kilter garage rock hell. If that sounds like a dissing, think again.
The Revellions are from Dublin in Ireland and have made a nine-song album of two distinct halves. The first recalls, at times, Boston institution Lyres with its strong reliance on surging organ and wailing vocals, while the second goes to that noisy and mind-altered place where the Black Lips and The Oh-Sees reside. Soulful versus Trippy. Both bases covered.
Recorded in Dublin and Spain over five years (nobody said they were fast workers) as a follow up to their eponymous 2008 debut, “Give It Time” features current players James Lister (guitar and vocals), Thomas D’Arcy (keyboards and vocals) and Mick Smith (drums) and Brian Salter (bass) with contributions from more past band members than you can point a shillelagh at. Ali Moore (since departed) takes centre mic on seven songs.
Mike Mariconda from the A-Bones and Raunch Hands had a production hand in four of the songs – so that should tell the more astute among you something right there.
In spite of its name, opener “Bitter And Twisted” sounds breezy enough to these ears with prominent keys rubbing up against Moore’s wired vocal. Brass punctuates the skittish yet soulful “Sighs” and “Don’t Wait For Me”. The title cut’s reverb vocals, acrid fuzz guitar and swirling organ signal The Revellions’ descent into the darker side. The muddy “In Vito Veritas” marks the metamorphosis into the unhinged. Change the mood from glad to madness, to paraphrase.
If Dublin’s River Liffey had a delta,“Strung Out Bad” would comfortably reside there, while “The Waltz” is as described on the packet and an instrumental to boot. The spooky trumpet adds to the unhinged atmosphere.
Closer “Drip” is all wide-screen keys and trumpet atop a somewhat majestic feel and ever so unhinged vocals. Has somebody been spiking these boys’ Guinness with acid? Beats me but it works a treat.
The hardest thing about this CD is which “side” (imagining it’s an LP) to play first. Such conundrums are why we have programmable CD players. If you haven’t worked it out yet, this is an outstanding album that bears up under high rotation.