Brokeback is the side project of Tortoise bassist Douglas McCombs, an ensemble which continues on the with the post-rock sound of his main band but in a less constricted setting. With their newest album, Brokeback and the Black Rock, McCombs and the musicians playing with him these days paint an aural landscape that takes the listener across the dry, arid desert of America, exposing every rock, cactus and tumbleweed along the way. This is not the stoner rock made famous by bands like Queens of the Stone Age, who are notable for being the leaders of â€œdesert music.â€ This is the sound usually heard played by bands like Calexico, Giant Sand and Will Johnson.
Being an instrumental album, it works better as a whole piece rather than breaking its individual songs. â€œWill Be Arrivingâ€ sets the mood immediately, and songs like â€œThe Wire,â€ â€œThe Rag and The Payoff,â€ â€œWho Is Bozo Texino?â€ and â€œGold!â€ help you taste the grit blowing through the vents of the car as you cruise through mile after mile of hot, parched landscape.
Brokeback and the Black Rock is an album that proves sometimes the reward is found in the journey, not in the destination.
Brokeback and the Black Rock is out now on Thrill Jockey.