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Bob Drake - The Skull Mailbox and Other Horrors CD (album) cover


Bob Drake


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4 stars This album documents what is probably the definitive "Bob Drake sound." It establishes Bob's Lovecraftian obsessions & penchant for short-form material. This is a great place to start if you're getting into his music, although it does drag in some spots. This would be 5 stars if "The Shunned Country" didn't exist to perfect this already wonderful style - also, whereas "Shunned Country" is dominated by banjo, "Skull Mailbox" primarily features acoustic guitar.

Some highlights:

"They Live in the Well." An excellent opener, and quite catchy. Driven by acoustic guitar and underpinned by wheezy pump organ, distant percussion, and contorted electric guitar lines.

"The Skull Mailbox." An incredible micro-song that goes through about 7 distinct moods in 50 seconds. It's got barbershop harmonies, flitty acoustic lines, the works!

"The Tower." One of my favorites - I've never heard harmonicas go so "wrong!" You can check out this song & the title track at Bob's website (highly recommended!)

"The Horrible Garden" is a hit song for the future. Truly wonderful.

"The Unmentionable Inhabitant" takes an old-fashioned folk idea & runs it through a cheese grater from Hell. You'll never be sane anymore after listening to this - pure brilliance.

"Something's Coming." Oh God it's coming dear Lord don't let it get m

"Calla Lily" is a real oddity amongst oddities. It opens with almost a minute of ambient scrapings before bursting into a Mars Volta-esque odd-meter jam session; this, in turn, is suddenly cut off by a truly scary monologue by Drake himself that makes no sense whatsoever. Excellent.

"The Hideous Portraits" begins with heavy electro-percussion before moving into a classic folk-tune style, the chorus of which occurs in two meters at once. It's very short, but very good.

"You STILL Can't Outwit that Thing" (also available at Bob's aforementioned website!) is as hard-rock as this album gets. Very short, very sweet.

"The Medium's House" is a magnum opus. Noise-guitar & bass alternate with a sensuous acoustic melody in shifting meters, concluding with a catchy folk-dance with an unmentionable monstrosity. It wanted to have a little party!

This a great place to start listening to Bob Drake. I can't recommend it enough!

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Posted Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Review Permalink

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