Chris Robinson Brotherhood: Phosphorescent Harvest
While Big Moon Ritual and The Magic Door were cut from the same sessions early in the Chris Robinson Brotherhoodâ€™s development, Phosphorescent Harvest has a lush openness and a wealth of carefully placed sounds that a yearlong recording process allows. The CRBâ€™s twin inflections, of psych weirdness and laid-back cowboy rock, get further apart hereâ€”the strange gets more ethereal and more precisely mind-bending and the guitars even earthier. The songs, largely co-written by Chris Robinson and Neal Casal, breathe in the juxtaposition. The album is dark and strange and pretty, a collection of love songs. Thereâ€™s a lot to listen to: complex song structures, recurrent images, hints of a cycle, a system of metaphor being laid out. We hear acoustic strumming, Spanish picking and pedal steel swells, but also urban tones and shout-outs to New York City. Among the most satisfying moments are when the songs break into psych meltdown or prog instrumental. Adam MacDougallâ€™s broad arsenal of organ, electric piano and synth tones is often foregrounded. Itâ€™s rock music turned inside out, as the synchronized riffs provide rhythmic context for the synthesized phantasmagoria, which sets the subtle roar of the guitar leads. Robinsonâ€™s voice has grown mature, and easy. This band is maturing, too. Theyâ€™re finding their true sound in the process.