Martin Jack Rosenblum's Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection) resounds with the pangs of a snub-nose .45 fired into a disorderly atmosphere; not consecutively, but over the course of a lifetime. Intended to heighten as well as skew perceptions, Ice Thorn isn't comprised of relics from Rosenblum's vault, but is a recent collection of enlivened vignettes of personal rock 'n' roll history. Although the six-shot album plays out as Rosenblum's most concise work, boasting an unrivaled density compared to his previous, more thematically reliant long-playing albums, it is the opus of an extensive career.
With an organ that seems to descend from the heavens onto a paved and littered Earth where sin thrives unbound, the first shot of "Howlin' Wolf Drives Past" is a Delta whale-song that chases the fumes of enlightened disillusionment with heart-wrenching sincerity. Unrolling dynamically like the frayed ropes of highways that stretch across America, out of the backwoods and into chaotic cities, it is the beginning of a powerful trip. Backed by the rightly named Werewolf Sequence, Rosenblum's band stalks in and out of the shadows of the wavering daylight on Ice Thorn.
As his most lyrically sparse album, Rosenblum makes every utteranace count with the gravel-laden and wise voice of a soothsayer who's lived a restless existence. Ice Thorn is a sonic manuscript of seemingly deranged tales from an obscured reality that is as historically relevant as it is intensely personal. At points, where potential voids may lurk, careful layers of instrumentation and daunting backing vocals keep the ride from drifting too far off the road. Rosenblum's guitar is the leading flame through the dark, while Werewolf Sequence is the gas that evokes and controls the blaze.
CD release party at Cream City Music, 7 p.m. April 28. Admission is free.
John Figlesthaler 26 April 2007
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