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Pearls and Brass 

The Indian Tower

Wednesday, Jan 11 2006
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Pearls and Brass is a grungy stoner-rock trio from Allentown, Pa., and as is the case with most modern groups working from an early-'70s boogie-rock template, I guzzle a brew, dig a couple of its jams, and then my attention dissipates on account of the endless succession of thunderous riffs and greasy grooves starts feeling rather limited in scope. That's because most hard-rock musicians these days do not possess the technical skill of their bell-bottomed 'n' bearded forefathers. Pearls and Brass only seems capable of creating a bombastic, one-dimensional bar-rock fusion of Grand Funk boogie and Black Sabbath fuzz, in which deafening volume replaces crafty chops. Sure, the act does perform two enjoyable acoustic numbers: "I Learn the Hard Way" and "Away the Mirrors." But I want more. I want Pearls and Brass taking on some of the more adventurous sounds from the early '70s, such as the fluid country-jazz of the Allman Brothers; the graceful yet sturdy folk-rock of Peter Frampton-era Humble Pie; the minimal, understated, slow-burn blues of ZZ Top; or the agitated rhythms of the Groundhogs.

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Justin F. Farrar

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