[sic] Magazine

Lord Dog Bird – The Trinity Knot

You’re not going to get very far into a review of The Trinity Knot without reading mention of Spencer Krug , his Moonface project and that stunning and self-explanatory LP he made called Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped . Krug maximised the potential of the instrument, pushing it way outside of its normal range and here, as Lord Dog Bird , Colin McCann , the former Wilderness guitarist, picks up the baton, presenting a collection performed purely on a similarly sad pump organ – his vocal the sole accompaniment, which again, in places, seems to borrow from Krug’s stuttering epics.

It’s plausible all the same you might think such a sparse concept is limited, and it is, though no more so than a man-plus-guitar set-up is. The real surprise comes when McCann, in spite of his barren and unusual palate, manages to turn in a relatively straightforward selection of singer-songwriting that is inspired by his home deep in the Trinity Mountains of Northern California. Stripped back to the wood, McCann is perhaps given freedom to explore that which he couldn’t, or at least didn’t on his Jagjaguwar debut.

While remnants of that time exist, the hymnal cooing on “Vanity And Shame” for example, The Trinity Knot is the product of a darker and more primal need. It lands McCann shouting at the moon, just on the wrong side of the sanity line. Yet, this gentle unhinging give depths to his organ’s relentless oscillating drone – no, that does a disservice to the grand old instrument, its parping and atmospheric wheezing never less than dignified, its tones those of faded majesty. Either way, McCann knows how to get the most out of his old-world toy, be that when it’s taking a back seat as he gets all fists-clenched intense or providing a slow-burn score to the most serene of battle sequences.

On “Two Shimmering Stones”, in between some downright freaky mewing, a single line resonates out beyond the confines of the track and into the subconscious. As McCann intones “ the sound of sweet decay ” you jolt a moment or two later, realising it’s the ideal takeaway. It takes time to adjust to McCann’s monophonic world, his organ spinning out its slo-mo half-life against an autumnal landscape, but when the mists clear it’s him rather than his organ that stands out, a magnetic anchor around which a mysterious and elemental fug can’t help but crowd.

~The Trinity Knot is out now on vinyl and cassette via Moon Glyph .~