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Tom Waits
Real Gone
Anti Records

This record is a challenge - even more so than Mule Variations, which was no Sunday walk in the park. Darkness and a bit of insanity slip through these songs as easily as water through a chunk of cheesecloth. Don't come to Real Gone with the expectation of conventional song structures and traditional instrumentation. Gone are the days of "Heart Of Saturday Night", with its dark, but musical voice. Tom Waits has instead continued to mutate his sound to another level of insightful madness. Aided in this endeavor by a cast of some of the latest and greatest in the field of pushing musical boundaries - Les Claypool, Brain - as well as his son Casey, Waits has recorded a collection of intriguing and mesmerizing songs.

The album starts off with sinister noise-scapes and redundant vocal passages, hinting not-too-subtly at the madness that is yet to come. "Sins Of The Father" finally gives the listener a bit more of a traditional song, steeped in blues guitar riffs and pizzicato rhythms. Approaching the territory of early industrial music on tracks such as "Don't Go Into The Barn", Waits weaves fabrics of dark insanity, relying on rhythms based on found noises more than traditional percussive instruments. There are, however, a few tracks that are full of the glorious dark splendor of older Tom Waits' music. "Dead And Lovely" is a prime example of the kind of twisted poetry that has always made Waits shine. In his distinctive rambling storytelling style, Waits weaves the kind of magic that has made him such a fantastic talent for more than three decades. And moments of beautiful poetry dot this collection as well. "Green Grass" invokes more magic with its first stanza than many artists ever create. " Lay your head where/ My heart used to be/ Hold the earth above me/ Lay down in the green grass/ Remember when you loved me."

On Real Gone, Tom Waits has crafted a rhythmic and melancholic record full of just the kind of madness that seems to bring the rest of life into sharp focus. There are moments of such severely pointed repetition that the listener will be forced to attempt to solve the conundrum that is being placed before him or her. The songs will make the head lean into the speaker just a little closer… to see if it really heard what it thinks it just heard, or if it was merely some sinister nightmare of sound.

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:

1. Top Of The Hill
2. Hoist That Rag
3. How's It Gonna End
4. Metropolitan Glide
5. Sins Of The Father
6. Don't Go Into The Barn
7. Shake It
8. Dead And Lovely
9. Circus
10. Trampled Rose
11. Green Grass
12. Baby GonnaLeave Me
13. Make It Rain
14. Day After Tomorrow

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