Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Review: Chuck Dukowski Sextet - Reverse the Polarity

Label: Nice and Friendly Records

Released: October 16, 2007

Those with a superficial appreciation of Chuck Dukowski's old (and considerably more famous) band, Black Flag, will be rather shocked to hear his new material. However, anyone with a deeper understanding of Black Flag will see CD6 as a logical progression. Black Flag was, after all, essentially a psychedelic band. Not in the sense that they sounded like Sgt Pepper's or the Seeds even, but in the sense that they were mind-altering. And that is the very quality that persists in CD6.

Reverse the Polarity is a more cohesive affair than "Eat My Life," CD6's last release, but that does not come at the expense of its manic power. The rhythms run across rock, jazz and blues and along with Dukowski's fluid bass lines manage the album's energy while horns and the wild play of new guitarist Milo Gonzalez raise the stakes to a mind-bending level. Gonzalez may be the factor that really pushes this album to a new level. Not only are his trippy riffs deceptively strong, but he also brings a consistency that gives the album better flow than their first album. The really striking thing about CD6 though is Lora Norton's voice. Her rich, dynamic voice is both sultry and frenzied and it's so striking that it makes the music more accessible without leveling its emotional peaks.

CD6 has created quite a masterpiece of real psychedelia. Its sense of abandon drives it to the edges of sanity, yet it is grounded in a simplicity that reflects the DIY punk ethic out of which it has grown. There are plenty of bands that are tapping old psyche energy, but none are able to truly capture that spirit and release it in a current sound in the way CD6 has.

Rating: 8/10



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