Eleventh Dream Day - Riot Now! | Album review
Guitar-rock lifers stick to what they know best on their tenth album.
There’s footage online from Dutch TV showing two early front-runners of Chicago’s nascent alt-rock boom, Eleventh Dream Day and Green. Dating back to 1990, the video is a fascinating glimpse of what might have been if not for grunge. Fast-forward two decades and both bands can still be found on the club circuit—usually preceded by the term “elder statesmen.” Yet it’s EDD that has carried the guitar-rock torch.
Rick Rizzo’s frantic Neil Youngisms remain the heart and soul of the group—the singer-guitarist thrashes about like, well, a crazy horse, while delivering furious bursts of scruffy jangle and distortion-dripping feedback. It’s the same formula that endeared the group to former tour partners Yo La Tengo, and one it returns to on Riot Now!, the band’s tenth album and first in five years. It’s also the first to formally welcome Mark Greenberg into the fold, filling the long vacant second guitar position. The former Coctails player is a welcome addition, adding bright swaths of organ to no-bullshit rockers like “Damned Tree,” amped up by drummer Janet Beveridge Bean’s snotty backup vocals.
With gritty, power-chord riffing back in vogue, EDD brings an autumnal presence to the genre. The lyrics to the slow-burning “That’s What’s Coming” could stand as a survey of any long-running band’s career. “Sonic Reactor,” on the other hand, is an exercise in bar-band simplicity. When Rizzo commands, “Riot the right now,” it feels like the 21st century answer to Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
EDD hits Lincoln Hall Friday 22.