Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
We're thrown right into the conditions of the present tense as the pounding drums and the twiddling guitar riffs flare up on The Entrance Band's self-titled new album rolls out with "Lookout!" Lead singer Guy Blakeslee sings about unknowns waiting for Kingdom Come - just waiting out the remaining days in a hopeless stupor - and as the days that he's walking us through get darker and darker until the locusts come out and begin chirping, we're finding ourselves cutting sharp glances left and right over our shoulder. It's not so much for the unease or any damning panic, but it's more just a general statement about the queasy conditions that we're all living in these days, sensations of breathtaking uncertainty and in change that moves like a tortoise, people and lands that will likely never get along much better than they do now, no matter how good the intentions or the efforts turn out to be. It's as if the more change that's dreamed of and longed for, the harder it will be for it to ever rise to the top and Blakeslee, drummer Derek James and bassist Paz Lenchantin brace us for those sad facts. Life is a curse sometimes and there are more shadows than there are bright lights out there. There are more depressions than there are stimulants and it all needs to be reconciled or you can just spoil from the insides out, the sourness spreading quickly through the muscles and tissues. "The Entrance Band" is an album whose protagonists are trying to beat back the dark tremors and the night terrors as if they were trying to scare off bats or barn swallows with an old straw broom. Instead of sinking into despair, Blakeslee is doing his best to write his way out of all of the different parts of the mechanism that bring him down - mostly by turning his amplification box up to its highest levels, throwing some diversionary tactics into the stream (purple smoke and soul-shaking howls) and addressing the grim reaper as if they were old chums who head down to the pub to catch beers and trade stories about women or just death and the end of all this humanity seen before them, out the windows. One of the resilient thoughts on the record is that of immovable stagnancy, of time doing what it wants when it wants and for however long it wants, no to spite or to spit, but just because it was born to do so. It is not defiant, just precise and obedient. It obeys its own master - a metronome that never runs down. Fear cannot influence it. Age cannot influence and want stands no chance in denting. When Blakeslee adds later in "Lookout!" "When time takes our shadow away," it's not really an instance of sadness, just the idea that there's no way to hold onto the light of a day, just as darkness flies away every morning. Change, as looked at in the grooving and rocking "M.L.K.," is so abstract and easily negated or it just fails because making it stick is the hardest thing. The band brings Martin Luther King Jr. into the discussion - a 40th anniversary of his senseless assassination in a way - with the thought that things should be much different so many years after his visionary speeches and his rallying of so many, giving the powerless their power back. The Entrance Band takes on this fragility of being, this surplus of doubtful resignation and the proliferation of glimmers of hope onto the faces cast in grayness with a skeptic's optimism - looking all of the werewolves in the eyes and calling their bluffs.
The Entrance Band Official Site
Ecstatic Peace Records