February 8, 2001

Test Spin: Brokeback

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For a band consisting mainly of two bassists, Brokeback certainly makes a huge impression. Brokeback (the duo of Tortoise’s Doug McCombs and his cohort Noel Kupersmith) crafts meandering compositions that touch on jazz, folk, and classical. At times, they approach the liveliness of McCombs’ full-time band, but mostly the duo is decidely minimalist.

The lengthy atmospheric arrangement of the first track is perfectly textured space-rock. On the second track, evasive traces of coronet and western-flavored guitar are reminscent of Neil Young’s haunting Dead Man soundtrack. But it’s the two-minute “Running Scared” which is the EP’s standout. With a ghostly choir and militant drumming that recalls the like-minded Godspeed You Black Emperor!, this song closes the album with a flair.

–Ed Howard

Archived article by Ed Howard