Produced by: Joe Goldring (recorded by)
Guitarist Joe Goldring and drummer Doug Scharin – both artists handling much more than just those instruments, of course – team up as ‘Out in Worship,’ a contemplative, long-form bit of instrumental jamming and ambience, that maybe tests the listener’s patience with the way it flows between the two.
In its midsection, ‘Sterilized’ is all groove: Nut and Jam Jar Superstar find solid riffs and beats and just iterate, with Goldring the master of making the most out of a few, resonating chords, and Scharin equally masterful at pushing a central groove as far afield as possible without loosing its main hooks; Goldring’s Captain Onboard and early Scharin HiM are both absolutely present on these tracks, and probably meeting right in the middle. This makes for excitingly morphing head-bobbing material – head-bobbing both in the way it captizalizes on some kind of boogie that hits you right in the gut, and also in the trance-like, rhythmic way the players (supported by electronics and strings and keys) play. Mid-album Shift brings in Dawn McCarthy on vocals, adding another haunting layer, before the track gives way to atmospherics.
The bookends of the album are the make-or-breaks. At 15+ minutes each, these songs gather up the pieces of what’s in the middle and extend them, with the opening title track somewhat misleadingly kicking off with a pulse before fading into ambience, and ender Navajos drifting off into near silence at points. Both of these tracks are interesting on their own, and certainly as you peel into them, prove to have layers, but it’s a hard change-up when going from the more graspable work between these songs, even if Sterilized sets up the precedent by having that juxtaposition within the track itself. However, it’s not coincidental that after years and years of owning this album, I always forget about how solid the inbetween stuff is, because I start to drift during that first song’s 20-minute wander, which is just a bit too sparse to be drone, and more fully falls into an experimental pile.
So it’s not a pick-up-and-play affair, unfortunately, rather something to spend a few spins with so you understand its meter. Once you’re there, you can start to pick out the less obvious stuff, but I’ll admit the more obvious stuff ends up being where I get the most joy, and which satisfies a rather dream team-up of two fascinating musicians.