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Bob Drake: The Skull Mailbox (2002)

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

You never know where guitarist, Bob Drake will end up. Besides production duties for rapper, Ice T, and his affiliation with the ultra-progressive rock band, “The 5UUS,” Drake’s solo career stands as a paradigm of disparity. From his own words: “I decided to try doing an album based around the classical (nylon-stringed) guitar and vocals, with an overall connecting theme: each song would tell a short, weird or horrible story.” With this outing, recorded in his barn, Drake flirts with the macabre while utilizing instruments such as a “cheap” air powered electric organ, broken drums, old beer cans, and so forth.

Drake comes across as some sort of avant-garde, radical poet via his multi-tracked vocals, eerie lyricism, twangy electric guitar motifs, and slick picking acoustic guitar work atop fleeting rhythms. However, I must admit, this program is strangely appealing! On “The Box in the Orchard,” Blake injects wry humor with twisted, folk-rock style themes and odd sounding EFX. Although, he doesn’t allow the listener to become complacent as many of these works span one to three minutes in length.

Drake’s palate also features elements of country-rock and bluegrass, amid a few inadvertent nods to Captain Beefheart & “The Magic Band” or perhaps “The Fugs.” Oddities abound throughout, as Drake’s pet topic could parallel something that hints at - megalomaniac type artistic development. And for all of its hallowed reverie, The Skull Mailbox is bizarrely entertaining. Recommended.

ReR

Distributed in the USA by Cuneiform Records

Track Listing: 1.They Live in the Well 2.The Skull Mailbox 3.The Tower 4.Cellar of Madness 5.The Box in the Orchard 6.In the Tomb 7.The Shocking Efflorescense 8.Attar of Roses 9.The Miraculous Reliquary 10.The Wig Screamed Murder 11.Fearsome Heads 12.Fearsome Heads II 13.The Horrible Garden 14.Some Accursed Things 15.You Can

Personnel: Bob Drake: all instrumentation

Record Label: ReR Megacorp

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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