Ten years after their debut, Rizzo and Key release sophomore album Double Star on Thrill Jockey Records. Available in February 2011.
Between the globe-lit horizon and the sweat-stung fear of the darkest of nights exists a delightful half-light. Air-sprung with hazy remedies, this shadowy hinterland can be the diagnosis and the cure. And as the blackness fades there shines a double star; Rick Rizzo and Tara Key’s Double Star.
Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day) and Tara Key (Antietam) have been a driving force in the Chicago/Louisville/New York rock underground for well over 25 years. The sonic manipulations of these two bands have drawn comparisons with Yo La Tengo and a wigged-out Neil Young. Double Star is packed with the powerful, fuzzy restraint of the former, while hinting at some of Young’s finer, strangled moments.
The album, like debut Dark Edson Tiger, began life as tape-rolled, jam-filled sessions. With this foundation in place, Rizzo and Key would meet intermittently, adding loops and refining tracks. The result is a seductive, sleepy soundscape, where no words exist and the spirit of freedom is lightly bound by a sense of structure; slipping loose at every opportunity.
Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley helped out on Dark Edson Tiger and both the melodic beauty and distorted depths of Hoboken’s finest can be found in spades on Double Star. The white-walled, echo-wash that underpins Insanity Stomp heralds the lifting gloom; wonderfully out of focus as reverbed dolphin calls repeat and build.
But it’s far from a collection of pedal-swamped feedback. Acoustic beds make arm-wrapped overtures, feeding that growing sense of daylight and the urge to open little eyes to the impending dawn. Tracks like Descending Comment and Forgiven lilt and lift, making gentle fun of self-pity lies and miserable ways.
Rick and Tara will play a handful of dates in New York and Chicago (to be announced) and then part sonic ways again, to return to Eleventh Dream Day and Antietam respectively. But Double Star will continue to shine, adding much-need shade to those darkest of days. Listen deep and swallow hard; for an album with a background gaze strong enough to swell the heart, when you really look into its eyes, that’s when the air-sprung remedies really begin to kick in.
Visit the band’s Thrill Jockey Records page, to buy the album and find out more on live dates.