Tonight: Wilderness at the Mink

Categories: Playbill

"(P)ablum," live in Brooklyn

(K)no(w)here.jpgAnyone who thought Wilderness fell into a slump with Vessel States, the year-after follow-up to 2005's arresting self-titled debut, will be glad to hear that the cryptic Baltimore band has altered its approach somewhat on the new (k)no(w)here. Born as a single piece from a Whitney Biennial-sponsored collaboration with artist Charles Long, the album plays like a sustained fever dream, the quartet's studied dirges always creeping closer to the brink of entropy.

The opening "Nero" unfolds gradually - James Johnson's infamously creepy vocals don't show up until two minutes in - and with much emphasis on bleary atmosphere, while guitarist Colin McCann's voice provides a more human-sounding echo on some tracks. The guitar passage opening "Chinese Whisperers" is especially glistening and cyclical, and as when the band plays live, William Goode's drumming is a fluid, hypnotic marvel that rivals the spidery frontman antics of Johnson. By now, all those pesky comparisons to Lungfish, Joy Division, and PIL should be put to rest, letting Wilderness to be the singular entity it always has. - Doug Wallen

With Fertile Crescent and San Serac, 8 p.m. tonight at the Backroom at the Mink, 3718 Main, 713-522-9985.

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