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Wonderful Rainbow

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Album Review

In case its unique brand of sonic assault and battery didn't leave you lying dead on the floor with your spleen poking halfway out your gaping mouth the first time around, Lightning Bolt is back for a second strafing run on your sense of mental and musical balance. Think you're up for it? Well, maybe you are, but only if you leave your volume knob down between two and three. It's hard to believe that all this noise is made by only a guitarist and a drummer, and it's sometimes even harder to believe that no electronic manipulation is involved. But however it is that they create this glorious ruckus, it's a sound that attracts at least as strongly as it repels, and there are a few tracks (let's not call them "songs," thank you) on Wonderful Rainbow that come perilously close to actually having hooks. The brilliant "Dracula Mountain," for example, with its heavily processed and thoroughly indecipherable vocals, or the equally baffling and wonderful "Assassins," both of which pummel and dance in equal measure. In fact, the only real misstep here is "Duel in the Deep," which clocks in at an eventually tedious six minutes. At its best, though, this album is like having a beautiful girl hit you repeatedly over the head with a baseball bat. Imagine all the best aspects of Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, the Ruins, Slayer, and Ornette Coleman all thrown into a blender together. Then imagine them on speed. This one's a keeper.


Formed: 1995 in Providence, RI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '10s

Lightning Bolt emerged from Providence, Rhode Island in 1995 as a three-piece art school project. Initially there was Brian Chippendale's explosive, nonstop drumming, Brian Gibson's Contortions-like basslines, and Hisham Baroocha's vocals propelling them in a fury of volatile noise and orgiastic tribalism. The group helped found Fort Thunder, a music and art collective, and recorded a self-titled album that was issued through Load in 1999. By 2001's Ride the Skies, Baroocha had departed (he eventually...
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Wonderful Rainbow, Lightning Bolt
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