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Album Review

Right from the first note it's clearly a Durutti Column album, and thank Heaven for that. Twenty years-plus since Vini Reilly "returned" with his debut effort and though he's looking pretty grey on the back cover, there's no question that he's still got both the drive and sheer sense of beauty in his guitar playing fully in place. With Bruce Mitchell again his partner on drums and a variety of guest singers and players helping out along the way, most notably the lovely, powerful singer Vick A. Wood, Rebellion was Reilly's first U.K. release since Time Was Gigantic, and showed that the world was still his. Certainly, he's not breaking sudden new ground — in respects, he's almost the post-punk Eric Clapton at this point, quietly experimenting rather than suddenly sign-pointing the future. But if his hushed singing and endlessly listenable, endlessly shimmering guitar is the keystone for all he does, Rebellion provides enough variations to make it one of his best efforts yet. With the guest instruments including fiddle, harmonica, and Tibetan banjo, while bhangra samples, breakbeats, and on "Overlord, Pt. One" a reggae-flavored rap from Bic add more modern flavor, Reilly and company demonstrate that variety rather than reworking one approach is the key to the Durutti Column's relevance in a new century. One of the most inspired moments is grounded in far earlier days, though — a version of Irish folk standard "The Fields of Athenry," which deserves attention as much for Wood's bravura vocal turn as for Reilly's entrancing arrangement. Then there's "Geh Cak Af en Yam," which sounds like an LC standard at once gone acoustic and even more spacy and inspired than before, the subtly enjoyable "Falling," and the utterly captivating "Mello, Pt. 1," all exquisite testaments to the continuing power of Reilly's art.


Formed: 1978 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Durutti Column was primarily the vehicle of Vini Reilly, a guitarist born in Manchester, England, in 1953. As a child, Reilly first took up the piano, drawing inspiration from greats like Art Tatum and Fats Waller, before learning to play guitar at the age of ten. Despite an early affection for folk and jazz, Reilly ultimately became swept up by the punk movement, and in 1977 he joined the group Ed Banger & the Nosebleeds. In 1978, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson invited Reilly to join a...
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