With more than a little reverb, a sense of wide-open space, and a strong kinship with Americana, Brokeback and Black Rock is what instrumental albums should be. There is no struggle with absent vocals; these are complete compositions, finished and evocative.
For his first Brokeback album in 10 years, founder Douglas McCombs of Tortoise enlisted a trio of pros to round out a brand-new lineup, including Pete Croke (Tight Phantomz, Head of Skulls!), Chris Hansen (Pinebender, Head of Skulls!), and James Elkington (The Zincs, The Horse’s Ha).
With twangy fuzz, Western touches, and a greater rock aesthetic, Brokeback hasn’t changed what worked, instead using it as a jump-off to its evolution. The new album’s second track, “The Wire, the Rag, and the Payoff,” is a Western-tinged psych-rock jam that slinks and swells as much as it grooves.