Retribution Gospel Choir deliver another burst of their rocking energy on their second release. Led by Low's Alan Sparhawk on guitar and vocals, RGC has produced an efficient ten tracks that clock in at just under 34 minutes. Joined by fellow Low member Steve Garrington on bass, as well as Eric Pollard on drums, Sparhawk shows off some mean guitar chops along the way, specifically on the two longer tracks of the album.
The highlights kick off with the album opener, "Hide It Away" which boasts an unforgettable, anthemic chorus. Shorter rockers that impress include "Your Bird" and "White Wolf", both less than three minutes long, but the best guitar work is saved for the songs that stretch beyond the short, two-three minute blueprint the band often operates under.
The bluesy "Poor Man's Daughter" simmers along until the three minute mark when a wall of noise starts to build, resulting in a final, powerful three minute guitar assault by Sparhawk. The suitably titled, over eight minute long "Electric Guitar" lives up to its name with an impressive display of musicianship on the instrument over the last five minutes of the track.
The album's truly stunning moment comes in its closer, the eerily lovely "Bless Us All", a sarcastic kiss-off dressed up as a string laden ballad, complete with actual choir vocals. It's the last thing you expect after the previous nine tracks' emphasis on loudness, but gives new meaning to the band's name. It's a true gospel choir moment.
This isn't an earth shattering release. There are a couple pointless, less than a minute long tracks that may as well be segues, and "Something's Going To Break" doesn't even resemble a song until its last 30 seconds. But if you're looking for balls out, rocking moments, this is one of the better examples I've heard this year.
"2" was released in the U.S. January 26, 2010 on Sub Pop Records.