David Eugene Edwards walks down his own musical path, whether it was with 16 Horsepower or his most recent project, Wovenhand. Where 16 Horsepower focused more on traditional and acoustic instruments to deliver their meditations on the sometimes dark side of faith, Wovenhand opens up the field up with electric guitars and bass, and adds touches of more genres such as post-punk, punk, and even industrial.
On this newest record, Edwards is once again joined by percussionist Ordy Garrison, but he employs the services of Neil Keener (bass) and Chuck French (guitar) of Denver favorites Planes Mistaken For Stars and Git Some, and it results in a beefier, noisier sound that is pushed into different realms.
Edwards’ lyrics still focus on matters of faith, and whether positive or negative, it’s delivered with the highest level of sincerity.
“Masonic Youth” offers the first evidence of this newer musical approach. Over a rock-solid rhythm, French’s guitar lays down some noisy lines, while French’s bass fortifies the bottom end. “Good Shepherd” is a plugged-in and electric declaration of faith. “The Refractory” merges rolling drums, acoustic guitar, and subtle electric guitar accents for a tapestry of sounds. “Salome” starts off with the strum of an acoustic guitar, but then builds into noisy post-punk where the guitars spiral upward into the air.
“Obdurate Obscura” retains the lonesome and weary, semi-acoustic blues of earlier records, while “Hiss” offers more chunky and noisy, post-punk guitar, which gets legs and gallops a bit. “Field Of Hedon” opens with a wash of feedback, chords ringing out, and continues down a passionate punk rock path. “El-bow” ends the album on a sorrowful note.
Refractory Obdurate is one of the most unique records you are likely to hear all year. Give this one a chance and you will be won over by its odd mixtures of sound and dark meditations of faith. It’s heavy in ways that go beyond the guitar, bass, and drums.
(Deathwish, Inc., 59 Park Street, Second Floor, Beverly, MA 01915)