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Lightning Bolt: Earthly Delights

Lightning Bolt: Earthly Delights

Release Date:2009

By Erich Wagner | Posted 10/21/2009

It's been four years since the last Lightning Bolt record, in which drummer/singer Brian Chippendale lyrically burned in effigy George W. Bush on "Dead Cowboy." Much has happened since then. But what's changed? For Lightning Bolt, not much, apparently. On Earthly Delights, Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson's noise-rock creation picks up right where it left off, with tight, visceral concoctions of heavily distorted bass, powerful yet intricate drumming, and Chippendale's indecipherable yelps. The album has plenty of the standard Lightning Bolt fare--aggressive, loud, and at break-neck speed--as well as the lighter improvisational noodling that the duo tends to pepper throughout its records. And save for LB's magnum opus, Hypermagic Mountain, the latter is more interesting here than on its other recordings.

There's also a crisper recording quality on Delights than previous Lightning Bolt outings. This doesn't seem to be something that would greatly benefit Lightning Bolt--as a band renowned for its hatred of the recording studio--but the refinement actually makes it sound even louder. The sonic clarity allows the duo's more playful and experimental melodies to stand out from the driving, ear-shattering riffs, as showcased on "Funny Farm," featuring alternating motifs: one chaotic, the other almost whimsical. And on "Colossus," the band starts with a slow, simple melody, over time increasing both the tempo and complexity exponentially until it, too, becomes a full-fledged noise jam.

As a whole, Delights feels more coherent than past Lightning Bolt records. The shorter songs are tighter and more focused, while the epics sound better thought out and build to a definite climax, as opposed to toying with one or two riffs until they run out of steam. Here's some change, however minor, we can believe in.

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