Shiver of Joy (EP) - Black Box Revelation

Much is being made of the period sound of this duet, and rightly so, but beneath the Londonesque snottiness and Stonesy swagger, the mod rhythms and refrains, the ruff-pop stanzas and measures lurks a cleverness that marks Mssrs. Jan Paternoster and Dries van Dijk (Belgian bad boyz) as cats to watch out for on the writing / performing side of the boards 'cause very little escapes the pair, a bright golden savviness blaring out amid exploding lines and loud thick grooves. "I Think I Like You" at times layers itself as though a septet ensemble with a bewildering array of instruments perfectly captured in stutter-step and crashing insistence. The proggy middle eight is a complete surprise but coheres like magic, a shard of Vanilla Fudge meeting Uriah Heep (catch the Hensley-styled organ!) for coffee with a couple of the old Nonesuch electro-rebels.

One of the guys has that Mick Where's-The-Birds-Screw-The-World Jagger tone down dead nuts. The guitar, though, can be heavy as concrete, something neither Keith nor Ronnie nor Mick (Taylor) nor Brian would ever quite dare, but, whoa!, catch the delta twang and Ry Coodery lead in "Never Alone / Always Together" and ya know you're dealing with talent. Alain Johannes produced, engineered, and mixed a couple cuts here and, if I'm right, that's the same AJ who masterminded the killer but sadly under-recognized What Is This band that Rundgren took an interest in. I could easily see Johannes working more with Black Box Revelation in the future, the notion is mouth-watering, as the songs he was brought in for have Felix Pappalardi signatures in 'em. But Mario Goosens likewise does a great job with the snarly energies and pounding raucousness. Add touches of Lou Reed at his nastiest, some mutant Byrds, a sinuously corrupted Mersey sensibility, and psychedelia amid brash chordwork, and the beginnings of Black Box's aggregate sound begins to be approached. Wear ear muffs if you're not already shellshocked or a veteran arena audient, 'cause the pillars of the Roman Colisseum will be sorely tested before this one's over.

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