Friday, August 3, 2018

Bitter Strings: A Brief Review Of The New Album From Robert Poss (Band Of Susans)

I was a huge Band of Susans fan. The group seemed to blend the brittle-and-sharp kind of guitar attack found on Gang of Four records with a sense of the avant-garde that placed the Band well within reach of NYC contemporaries Sonic Youth. That said, I've not followed leader Robert Poss' solo career as closely as I should have but I will from here on out because his new solo record, Frozen Flowers Curse The Day, out today via Trace Elements, is excellent.

The largely instrumental release sees Poss unfurl guitar-lines that echo those of Robert Fripp (the linear "Partial Clearing"), as well as others that bear traces of Thurston Moore's best work, like on "The Test Pattern Setting", all rough edges atop a heavy beat. Elsewhere, Poss uses vocals on "The Sixth Sense Betrayed" and the effect is as if Robert Quine had fronted a band -- that's a compliment, by the way -- while on "More Frozen Flowers" Robert uses layers of effects and undulating chord structures to hit at something that has some of the looping precision of a John Adams piece.

At his best here on Frozen Flowers Curse The Day, Robert Poss does offer up stuff that sounds a lot like peak-Hope Against Hope Band of Susans (the spry "You'll Curse The Day"), and while that number pleased me as a long-time fan, I found myself drawn more to the more challenging offerings here, like "Ribbon Candy Colors" with its waves of sound that made me think of Harold Budd a bit. Poss has, if one couldn't tell from this review, one foot in the rock world and one in the new music world. And that's great, as his material shines with flashes of wild invention, and sparks of dangerous fire.

Frozen Flowers Curse The Day is out today. More details on this release and others from Robert Poss via his official website.