Review Summary: Earthly Delights really is, an Earthly Delight
See, when people talk about noise music, two styles of noise come up. There's the atonal, squealy, harsh stylings of guys like Merzbow and then there is the static drenched punk-metal hybrid of bands like Unsane and Slug. Lightning Bolt fall into their own special little niche, as they can't really be described as punk or metal nor can they be described as just random noise. They incorporate a multitude of genre's into the guise of regular, old noise rock. Earthly Delights is the latest release from the Rhode Island duo, and it's definitely their second best yet. While it may not match up to the critically acclaimed "Wonderful Rainbow", it comes damn near close. The two Brian's, Chippendale and Gibson, have crafted their own little style of noise that anyone can get into. If i haven't convinced you already to check this out, then read furthur....
Earthly Delights is definitely a strong album throughout. While it does follow the basic Lightning Bolt Formula (i.e. catchy sing-song melodies, pounding, rhythmic instrumental sections), the songs are stretched out and have incorporated some jamming a la Phish or 2003-Era Primus. Over the chugging riffs and technical drumming is psychedelic, noisy, textured jams during the instrumental sections. These jams throw curveballs here and there, whether it be unexpected volume changes on one track or swirling ambience on another. Lightning Bolt show they can change it up a little bit without compromising their style. They add more metallic riffage and even some old-school Rock 'N' Roll solos for good measure. This album definitely rocks harder than anything they've don before, and Lightning Bolt have made it evident that even groove can still be incorporated into the loudest and harshest of noises. Funny Farm
for instance, invokes a catchy country vibe while still being atonal enough not to let the fans think the band has sold out. Hell, there's even some clean playing on Earthly Delights, which i believe is a first for the band. They definitely made the music more accessible without managing to completely ruin that Lightnig Bolt sound.
Chippendale and Gibson are two excellent players in their own right. Gibson plays a high strung bass like a guitar almost as if its a tribute to Cop Shoot Cop(who did the same thing years before). He gets so many sounds and tones out of that thing you forget for a while that it even is a bass. Even being as technically accomplished as he is he still never forgets to make his bass playing so damn groovy. Gibson never gets technical on the level of, say, Psyopus, but he does get his tech on to satisfy all of the peopl who spend their lives masturbating to complexity. His noodling invokes thoughts of jazz, hip-hop, metal and even techno. Chippendale is the other half of Lightning Bolt on drums. His wild manic drumming goes up their with greats like Charlie Zeleny, Weasel Walter, and even Gene Hoglan. Ths time around he's even diversified his style by adding tribal percussion. When Chippendale plays, he puts on a vibe that he's just jamming out in his garage but he really is tight and rhythmic. His use of catchy drum rhythms and his insane improvisational skills makes for an all out noie fest.
Basically, Earthly Delights is almost perfect. Chippendale and Gibson have showed us that they really are the perfect musical match for each other. Everything they play compliments what the other person is playing. The album is really strong with each songs but the early sections are weaker. Thankfully, it picks up with the stronger second half and some better songwriting. Earthly Delights is truly a magnificent piece of work. Make sure to see them for their insane live show too. 4.5/5