200 Tons of Bad Luck may seem like a curse, but for art-noise merchants Crippled Black Phoenix, it may be the good luck charm that has eluded the quintet thus far.
Comprised of members from various musical units – including Gonga, Mogwai, Pantheist and Electric Wizard – Crippled Black Phoenix searches from within to disperse Pink Floyd-type epics ("Rise Up and Fight") and Neil Young and Crazy Horse-fueled improvisational masterpieces ("Burnt Reynolds"). It all seems interconnected like a concept album, yet using Portishead’s Geoff Barrow’s State of Art Studio, founding member Justin Greaves lights a spark under the inspired ensemble with "Time of Ye Life/Born for Nothing/Paranoid Arm of Narcoleptic Empire" that veers towards individualized compositional heights rarely heard since Wilco’s masterful Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Give this listener Crippled Black Phoenix with all 200 Tons of Bad Luck. Experimental and dizzyingly fascinating, it is a captivating marvel and one of 2009’s best.
200 Tons of Bad Luck is out now on Invada/Domino.