If you’re familiar with Ned Collette via his previous outing for Feeding Tube, last year’s Old Chestnut, then the new collaboration from Collette, James Rushford and Joe Talia might throw you off a bit. HIs last record was defined by its storyteller soul, treading a crossroads between Roy Harper, Lee Hazelwood, and Leonard Cohen. So, to walk into Afternoon-Dusk and hear not a word is spoken, seems like a complete about face for the artist. That line of thinking, however, discounts the playing on Old Chestnut which, divorced from his lyrics simmers and bows with its own beautiful intensity. Here Collette pairs his guitar with the idiosyncratic drumming of Talia (Jim O’Rourke’s band) and the viola experimentents of Rushford. While “Afternoon” dips into the water with the same grey-skied intentions as the instrumentals on Old Chestnut, where it goes from there is anywhere but languid.
The trio coats the first track in clatter and anxiety. As that sun dips, the the shadows loom and the creeping dread of night grows closer. There may be three of them, but the solitude here is palpable. Guilt gnaws at the bones of “Afternoon” turning the sun’s beams cold and giving every passing stranger a sinister hue. On the next side, “Dusk” does little to dispel this sense of dread and dire circumstances. Rushford’s viola doesn’t swoon or weep, but instead cries out in panic stabbing at the senses and inspiring a bit of fight or flight. The drums skitter like wild animals and Collette brings all manner of anxious energy to the track. The tones in dusk reach a peak that feels as if the listener is cornered and consumed, or at least in danger of becoming consumed at any moment. The record is another side of Collette and the ensemble he’s put together is playing at a peak. If you’ve come for round 2 on Old Chestnut, then this isn’t the right place, but it’s a great place to be nonetheless.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.