It’s a hazardous move to call your album “Second Street Tunnel”, especially when you’re in the business of making what some would call reverb soup (served on the underground if you will), but that’s exactly the kind of reckless protocol we’ve come to expect from this staggeringly prolific trinity of zoners, and with the opening excursion on this limited-to-123-and-housed-in-an-oversized-what-70s-couch-material-IS-that-pouch CDR named ‘Distant Joy’, you’d be twice as silly to let the subterranean party travel too far down the line before jumping on board and eating some yourself.
It treks out with a brain of deflated Kaos-Pad baritone giggle and muted-trumpet Neanderthal warble, while fanfare brass arpeggios split open in an even more distant backdrop, chance reflective patterns flickering like echoic puddle shapes on its leaky Farfisa surroundings. The wriggly drone has a snake charmer’s quality that’s more Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom than Aaron Dilloway, capturing the cliffhanger campness of the former, while evoking a documentary-like vision of its mined subterranean zone of gurgly creaturedom and general yucky dampness. The ensuing harmonica blurts have a mal de mer about them, but there’s nothing oceanic about the sickness conveyed here. It’s rather a type caused by trippy sewage and psychedelic disease. The carnivalesque gondola-theme-ride-group-jam gets a little vertiginous, as obscured, decelerated and untuned hick croons become wailing hillbilly specters, and when the rudimentary patter of a drum machine and a not-euphonic Suicide 4-on-the-floor-shift-to-quasi-faux-pas-bumbling-ostinato takes transitory shape, things turn positively illusory. The album is a medley of such unsettling sojourned moments and acts out a series of musical glimmers of hope that are repeatedly sucked back down before they can materialize as cadential catharses and happy clappy familial euphoria. It’s the ‘It’ of (VxPxC) ‘s levitating discography, but it doesn’t have you banging your head against the post, still insisting you see the ghosts. Not that that was an original Stephen King line anyway.
6/10 -- E.R. Chatterton (21 October, 2009)