Brokeback at Rainbo Club and Saki | Concert preview
Douglas McCombs and co. celebrate the group’s first disc in a decade.
If you’re going to name a song “Colossus of Roads,” it better be epic. Douglas McCombs and his confederates come up with the goods on the closer of Brokeback and the Black Rock, Brokeback’s latest for Thrill Jockey. Its grand melody begs you to look up, the better to see the towering beat kept by bassist Pete Croke and drummer James Elkington. McCombs and fellow guitarist Chris Hansen take detours off the tune’s main route that are so stirring you might book a road trip just to find matching scenery. The LP’s seven preceding pieces are shorter, but no less evocative.
McCombs has helmed the instrumental ensemble since the mid-’90s, and his writing for the group has always had a panoramic quality. But the band’s profile diminished in the decade since its last album, Looks at the Bird, as he concentrated on his work with Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day and a duo with guitarist David Daniell. Brokeback concerts grew more rare, and there hadn’t been any for two years before McCombs convened the current lineup in 2010. When he did, he set about building something that would last. The quartet rehearsed and toured the set for two years before recording it, which shows in the dynamic pacing and effortless muscle the members put behind their performances on the record. The group celebrates the album’s release with two free concerts, the second of which features the new album performed in full.