The Entrance Band: The Entrance Band
The Entrance Band, ne Entrance, is primarily the project of Guy Blakeslee, who until 2002 lived and made music in Baltimore, most notably co-founding garage-punk outfit the Convocation (ne the Convocation of. . . ) with Moss Icon frontman/local art-punk godhead Tonie Joy. Blakeslee moved to Chicago (and Los Angeles, eventually) and started Entrance, releasing a small handful of surprisingly eclectic records that spanned from crunchy, traditional folk and bluegrass to lush, chamber orchestrated rock to lilting sitar-spiked psych jams to the polished, rife-with-hooks blues-rock that makes up the bulk of this record, his first for the Thurston Moore imprint Ecstatic Peace.
There's at least a couple of ideas from those albums found here--the blistering, riffing continuation of blues-psych tear "Grim Reaper Blues (pt.2)," a fleshed-out rock 'n' roll take on solemn Dylan-in-the-desert tune "Lookout!," originally from 2003's Honey Moan--but overall the Entrance Band, now including the absolutely ripping bassist Paz Lenchantin (of a A Perfect Circle and Silver Jews fame) and drummer Derek James as full-time members, has honed itself into a rock-solid, mass-appeal beast that could shake the White Stripes from their throne. "M.L.K." is both breathtaking and soul satisfying in its massive, alluring riffs (every song has a thick, ringing riff for, like, every day of the week); simple, reverbed-out vocal hooks; and crystal clear populist message: "Hey, there's a reason I sing/ 'cause I want to hear freedom ring/ and I'll remind you all of one more thing, remember Martin Luther King." The cloud-scraping chorus hook of "That Is Why" could tame a lion; "Sing for the One" chugs along in a grubby stoner-rock roil; "Hourglass" sounds like it could fucking own an arena, complete with Jumbotron shots of Blakeslee shredding like some newly anointed high priest of rockdom. Basically: watch out.