Blues Control: Valley Tangents
The first thing the educated music connoisseur might ask when listening to Blues Control’s new album, 'Valley Tangents', is “Did Robert Wyatt make a new album?” The laid back groove, Charlie Brown piano and buried synth swirls have the pleasantly casual air of much of the noted English musician’s work, even though there’s no sign of his signature falsetto (or any vocals, come to that).
Tthe CD sleeve, however, does indeed read “Blues Control” - it seems the Brooklyn noise-rockers have moved to the country and eased back. Maybe it’s just their recent collaboration with meditative musician Laraaji. Yes, there is a bit of distortion on opener ‘Love’s A Rondoo’, but it’s a far cry from the lo-fi fuzzy thumpathon that opened their self-titled album on Holy Mountain from 2007.
Fortunately for fans hoping something oddball, the strange noises return in ‘Iron Pigs’, along with some synth fanfare, bumping piano and roughly sawing guitar.
Still, whatever clatter they blend into music, there’s no denying a sort of easygoing, bucolic charm has settled over ‘Valley Tangents’ - it’s a nice album to put one in a mellow mood, without being so bland that it puts you to sleep.
The duo of Lea Cho and Russ Waterhouse deserve credit for taking listeners off the beaten path but still making them feel at home.