Touch And Go
By: Eric G.
Blueblood is the sixth LP for Silkworm on almost as many labels. This one keeps the self-effacing lyrics and vocals that teeter on the brink of collapse, but tones down some of the abrasion of past releases. You can still tell that they use huge amps by the thick tones that threaten to get shrill at any moment, but the writing is almost folky with clear verses and choruses. 1997’s Developer hinted at this progression, but didn’t quite make the jump. This is one of those records where the crystal gets clearer with every listen. It could almost blend into the woodwork at a low volume. The lyrics all read like sad stories, but they really grab at your heartstrings when you hear the emotive way Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett express them. Certain phrases and lines lurked in my head and I had to hear them again to get a sense of closure. This record oozes with honesty and authenticity. These guys have been around the block: “From inseam to hem I’m a dying specimen/the local joke/I’m a tramp/I think everybody’s ridden my ramp”- this stuff is from the gut. The guitar line that opens “Ritz Dance” is devastatingly powerful in its simple, haunting progression, and in “I Must Prepare (Tablecloth Tint)” when the piano kicks in at the end it’s obvious that this band has grown by leaps and bounds since the days of “Scruffy Tumor.” In “Clean’d Out”, the album’s closer, bassist Time Midgett sings of his house burning down not embitteredly but with a sense of stoic remorse- his voice threatening to give out with a wavering tone similar to Will Oldham’s: “The best parade is a house on fire/nothing left but black and gray/guitars and books and wood and wire/plunged into a sooty grave/I didn’t care/it cleaned me out.” Silkworm is in top form, and Blueblood is hands down the finest record I’ve heard this year.