The Retribution Gospel Choir (4 stars)

Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Fri Mar 12 2010

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The Retribution Gospel Choir

‘FEAR NOT FOR THE FUTURE, WEEP NOT FOR THE PAST’ is the daisy-chained epitaph emblazoned on the wall above where the Minnesota-born offshoot of slow-core somnambulists Low are in full pelt. It’s an all too appropriate backdrop for vocalist/guitarist Alan Sparhawk, bass player Steve Garrington and drummer Eric Pollard’s whistlestop mid Friday afternoon appearance as part of Peter Liversidge’s ‘The Thrill Of It All’ exhibition in the bright n’ boomy former home of The Venue. Make-believe trees perch on the floor around the makeshift corner stage, and the band’s funereal lounge-bar black attire is a louche counterpoint to the first sun of Spring shining through the windows.
Anyone expecting discreet meditations may wish to take note of TRGC’s tenure on Sub Pop records, however, because what bursts out of the teeny PA may start out as two-minute garage band power pop, but extends itself into a series of effortlessly low-slung guitar wig-outs. Over forty minutes, Sparhawk and co rip through a condensed primer of rock’s back pages, with only some ill-advised cod reggae interrupting its lolloping gait. The thrill of it all, indeed.

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