» LATEST FEATURES

LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Wovenhand
Mosaic
Sounds Familyre

Rating: 9/10 ?


September 5, 2006
Yea, though he's walked for years with 16 Horsepower in the shadow of the valley of Old Testament torment and the bleakest Appalachian country-folk imaginable, David Eugene Edwards still has to be dragged, kicking and screaming, toward the light. With Wovenhand, the side project he formed from 16 Horsepower's rib in 2001, Edwards has undergone a remarkable transformation, going from Southern Gothic doomsayer to ethereal European folk mystic over the course of three mesmerizing LPs. The latest is Mosaic, a glorious hymnal of dramatic, blustery compositions and serene meditations dedicated to faith and devotion, things a man like Edwards clings to in times of despair.

Without that solid foundation, the "double-minded man" of the menacing "Elktooth," one of the most harrowing songs Edwards has ever written, falls prey to madness and violent fantasies. Clutching a cross in one hand and a Bible in the other, Edwards, his deep voice channeling both Cotton Mather and Jim Morrison, immerses himself in the character's disturbed psychosis to the point where reality and fiction start to blur. His performance is chilling, as is the unsettling atmosphere of brooding organ, rattling bells and chimes and stormy drums that makes "Elktooth" so tense and uncomfortable to sit through.

That's not the case with "Whistling Girl." A flowing blend of cascading piano and fluid banjo picking, the song sees Edwards using evocative language and a compelling melody to tell a story of temptation, weakness and salvation. "Through the open window of the soul tonight, his yoke is easy and his burden light," sings Edwards, against Ordy Garrison's light-footed drum movements. More indicative of the dramatic beauty and hopeful mood of Mosaic, "Whistling Girl" sits in stark contrast to the gnashing of teeth in "Elktooth" - the two songs paired together as twins, one evil and the other good. Following "Elktooth" is the sun-peaking-through-the-bruised-clouds instrumental "Bible And Bird," a light acoustic workout with a lot of slide guitar accents, brushed drums and blankets of organ. One of a number of instrumentals, "Bible And Bird" is the blue-sky morning to the monkish dream-scape of "Breathing Bull," which sets the stage for the moody "Twig," featuring lyrics from the 4th century chant "Eternal Creator Of The World," written by Saint Ambrose.

Mosaic seems to move with the tides, rolling in and drawing back according to Edwards' whims. In that way, Wovenhand approaches - nay, eclipses? - the epic wonder and exotic mystery of Dead Can Dance. The thunderous anthem "Winter Shaker," with its windy drums, moaning hurdy gurdy and Edwards' epic vocals, bridges the disparate worlds of Persia and Native American pow-wows. When he wails "hallelujah," Edwards sounds as if he's locked in the throes of a powerful vision. On an even grander scale, "Dirty Blue" marries urgent, compact acoustic arpeggios with strings - courtesy of Elin Palmer - that can be sharp one moment and sweeping the next for a rich, theatrical staging so thrilling and stupendous the listener feels motionless and awestruck in its dark wake, having been crushed by this rogue wave of sound.

As is the case with great directors, Edwards doesn't let up after that kind of emotional release. The low Middle Eastern growl of "Slota Prow/Full Armour" sneaks up on you like a thief. Haunting and lovely, "Truly Golden" talks of God's "woman's touch" and how "He does chastise these bones," and how Edwards " ... spins with the world, but it is no help to [him]." Waiting in the wings is the Nick Cave-like "Deerskin Doll," with its breathless, stirring string arrangements building to a stunning conclusion, with Edwards' imposing vocals growing more and more immense with each movement.

Stepping down from the pulpit where he delivered fiery cautionary tales filled with violence and evil with 16 Horsepower, Edwards drops to his knees on Mosaic and looks heavenward for guidance. As always with Edwards, the Christian overtones are present but never introduced in a heavy-handed manner, and the struggles of humans bound to this dreary earth are always in Edwards' thoughts. No offense to 16 Horsepower, but this is the music Edwards was born to make. Divinely inspired, or so it would seem, Edwards, the artist, is like a blacksmith forging glowing irons of song with hammer and fire. Hold Mosaic close to you skin and feel the searing heat of its desire to be closer to its creator; then pray for more.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!