At first glance, the line-up on Shame Engine / Blood Pleasure, the seventh studio album from Chicago’s Health&Beauty, might indicate a...
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At first glance, the line-up on Shame Engine / Blood Pleasure, the seventh studio album from Chicago’s Health&Beauty, might indicate a passing of the torch. The album features a large cast of musicians from the outfit’s past and its present, helping the band’s founder and sole constant Brian J Sulpizio achieve his idiosyncratic vision—a sound and ethos he’s been kicking around, retooling, and finessing for more than fifteen years, a few years after moving to Chicago from his native Defiance, Ohio in 2000. From song to song the band’s sound encapsulates detail-rich pop songs, extended jamming inspired by Chicago’s free jazz legacy, and devastatingly potent country-folk tunes. Sulpizio has never been hung up on genre, but his imagination and musicianship has allowed him to bring far-flung ideas to beautiful fruition.
A good chunk of the beautifully scorching new album was cut right after a quartet version of the group—with guitarist Jake Acosta, drummer Seth Vanek, and bassist Bill Satek—had finished an intensive three-week tour at the end of 2017. The new album conveys a directness and scorching power that seems to stem from the band’s live performances, whether the harrowing, droning blues of the opener 'Saturday Night' or the soulful Irish-tinged folk-rock of 'Recourse'. In reality, Shame Engine / Blood Pleasure is simply the latest chapter in an evolving tome, but it’s absolutely the most gripping and satisfying instalment in that process yet.
Saturday Night Yr Wives Rat Shack Clown Lack Bottom Leaves Judy Escaping Error Recourse Love Can Be Kind