Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog
Thu Jun 19 2008
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
“You should’ve been there in the ’80s,” guitarist Marc Ribot sings somewhere in the middle of his new Party Intellectuals. It turns out that there is “downtown,” but he’s not really reminiscing. In fact, Ribot’s deadpan almost sounds skeptical, a sign that even though he solidified his reputation for being equal parts rocker, jazzer and globalist (or “fake Cuban,” to paraphrase the name of his most popular band) in NYC’s nether regions, his latest music could only have been made in the here and now.
Undercutting any hint of nostalgia just might be the album’s leitmotif. First, Ceramic Dog, the guitarist’s new trio, spews fuzz all over the primal Bo Diddley beat on a Doors cover (“Break on Through”). Then, Ribot assembles comic snapshots from abroad on “Todo El Mundo Es Kitsch” (Miho Hatori’s Day-Glo backup vocals help out on the chorus). A clamorously evocative tableau wakes him from either a dream or a bad trip on the next cut, the spoken-word showpiece “When We Were Young (And We Were Freaks).”
Despite the noise-pop perfection of the opening tracks, however, Ribot’s eclecticism pulls the album in one direction too many later on. Instrumentals like “Digital Handshake” and “Midost” will surely make improv fans sit up and take notice, but sequentially they turn the listener away from Ribot’s considerable pop sensibility—something a noisemaker should always emphasize.
Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog plays Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell Thu 19 and the Stone Sat 21.