The side-project of Low’s Alan Sparhawk have released their 3rd album titled… ‘3’. The latest release by Retribution Gospel Choir steps away from the previous releases in that it only contains 2 tracks, both of which last roughly 20 minutes in length. This full-album release (albeit, with two tracks) features much of what differentiated Retribution Gospel Choir from Low, in that it features a much heavier blues style than Low’s more slow-core approach to music. Retribution Gospel Choir shows a much different creative side from Sparhawk than what we’re used too, though is every bit as creative as Sparhawk’s involvement with Low. The result on ‘3’ is an incredibly interesting album that is arguably one of Retribution Gospel Choir’s most creative and interesting albums to date.
‘3’ is vastly different from ordinary Retribution Gospel Choir albums in that it only features two 20-minute tracks. Starting off with Can’t Walk Out and ending with Seven. The two tracks help to show an incredible amount of creativity of Alan Sparhawk, especially in his instrumentation on the album. It seems the main crux of the two tracks are the instrumentals which push the songs along at a very interesting pace. There’s a real crunch to the songs, with some brilliant rock-orientated guitar riffs navigating around a long time-length. At various times in the songs, Sparhawk’s distinct vocals come into play, which adds more to the two tracks. There’s an incredibly interesting creative process at play on this album, which displays some brilliant instrumentals that provide an incredible amount of appeal. It is perhaps incredibly indulgent of Sparhawk, to have such lengthy guitar movements in the tracks, but in essence, it just works incredibly well in the presentation of the album. It is easily one of Retribution Gospel Choir’s most interesting albums so far, and as a complete album experience, it easily surpasses their previous releases.
The problem is that with such lengthy song lengths, it is only going to appeal to a limited number of people. Especially in the genre involved, most fans tend to enjoy more shorter and more accessible tracks than these incredible lengthy ones. Fans of Retribution Gospel Choir themselves might find themselves struggling to maintain interest in such long tracks. It mainly depends though on whether or not one is able to listen to such long songs. People who dislike anything longer than 5 minutes would be best to just give up on ‘3’. However, anyone who enjoys music as an art-form, and can appreciate the creativeness and the movements involved in long songs will find an incredible amount to enjoy on ‘3’. The lengthy guitar movements are to an extent a bit repetitive, but considering the riffs themselves sound so good, it is enough to maintain interest in those who enjoy long songs.
Overall I’d have to play ‘3’ as one of the best Retribution Gospel Choir albums so far. It is ultimately more inaccessible than the previous efforts, which featured much shorter songs. However, I found that on the previous album the actual album experience was a little daunting at times. On ‘3’ though, everything seems to just work, with the brilliant instrumentals being enough to maintain the attention of the listener. There’s some brilliant heavy riffs which sounds wonderfully different to the slow-core elements of Sparhawk’s Low. It’s simply great to see certain artists explore different musical directions, and it seems Sparhawk’s done that brilliantly on ‘3’.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Can’t Walk Out
Retribution Gospel Choir’s 3rd album ‘3’ is available now, and can be streamed on Spotify.