538

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog: Party Intellectuals

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog: Party Intellectuals Ceramic Dog, legendary guitarist Marc Ribot's new power trio, opens their appropriately titled debut album, Party Intellectuals, with a riotous statement of intent; tearing through a grungy surf-punk take on The Door's "Break on Through," the trio proves they're here to party, political puns notwithstanding.

Ribot's renowned sideman work with Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Lounge Lizards and John Zorn (among others) established his singular voice in the nascent Downtown scene two decades ago. A veteran bandleader, Ribot draws from myriad experiences to inform his newest venture. The lyrical irreverence of The Rootless Cosmopolitans, the bone-crushing volume of Shrek and the easygoing Afro-Cuban groove of Los Cubanos Postizos all commingle to make Ceramic Dog Ribot's most diverse and populist band yet.

Joined by bassist Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Secret Chiefs 3) and drummer Ches Smith (Trevor Dunn's Trio Convulsant, Secret Chiefs 3, Xiu Xiu), the trio keeps it loose on a balanced mix of instrumental and vocal numbers, relying on infectious bass ostinatos and buoyant percussive vamps as the foundation for visceral call and response interplay and probing solos.

At their most accessible, the wry travelogue "Todo El Mundo Es Kitsch" and familial ode "For Malena" float on ebullient bass pulses and shimmering Latin rhythms as Ribot invokes his former Los Cubanos band. The trio hearkens back to the oblique deconstructed pop sensibility of early eighties no-wave on the title track and "Never Better," combining danceable rhythms with angular themes and excoriating noise.

In storytelling mode, Ribot narrates a stark paean to youth over glassy shards of undulating feedback and scintillating percussion on "When We Were Young and We Were Freaks," recalling Sonic Youth at their most sinister. The jaunty "Girlfriend" traffics in similar territory, offering a twisted variation on the confessional singer-songwriter aesthetic. A haunting introspective side materializes on the cinematic tone poems "Bateau" and "ShSh ShSh."

Ultimately, Ceramic Dog is a rock band, with "Digital Handshake" and "Midost" the album's epic centerpieces. On the former, Ribot stretches out over a hypnotic bass loop and thunderous drumbeat before the trio peaks in a climactic squall of staccato caterwauling. "Midost" is a menacing anthem that suggests Dick Dale jamming with Black Sabbath as the trio gradually ascends from a churning free-form vortex.

A kaleidoscopic overview of Ribot's career to date, Ceramic Dog encapsulates his diverse interests in one stripped down unit. Funky, edgy and raw, Party Intellectuals is a vivacious effort from one of the Downtown scene's key innovators.


Track Listing: Break On Through; Party Intellectuals; Todo El Mundo Es Kitsch; When We Were Young and We Were Freaks; Digital Handshake; Bateau; For Malena; Pinch; Girlfriend; Midost; ShSh ShSh; Never Better.

Personnel: Marc Ribot: guitar, vocals; Shahzad Ismaily: bass, vocals, moog; Ches Smith: drums, percussion, electronics, vocals; Janice Cruz: vocals (3); Jenni Quilter: vocals (11); Martin Verajano: percussion (8).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Pi Recordings | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "True Flight" CD/LP/Track Review True Flight
by James Nadal
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Live at 5e" CD/LP/Track Review Live at 5e
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by John Sharpe
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Intermetallic Compounds" CD/LP/Track Review Intermetallic Compounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!