Two Lone Swordsmen
Wrong Meeting II
Rotter’s Golf Club
usicians take far too much time between releases. Sure, prolonged touring / promotional schedules and the relentless search for perfection would be valid reasons for elongated gestations, but given the shoddy nature of most live shows, not to mention
Which is why it’s so refreshing that though Two Lone Swordsmen, the collaborative brainchild of Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, may have waited three years to follow 2004’s excellent From the Double Gone Chapel with this year’s Wrong Meeting, they’ve barely waited a month since that vinyl-only album before chucking out a bona fide follow-up.
Both Wrong Meetings have seen Weatherall and Tenniswood travel further down the trail of clawing, eclectic forest rock laid in place on Double Gone Chapel; the nine new tracks which make up Wrong Meeting II focus a little less on song and a little more on groove. The abundance of material they’ve produced since this dramatic aesthetic shift from the full-on electro of 2000’s Tiny Reminders suggests they’re enjoying themselves.
As does the music itself (even if, as ever, the only consistent signifier that it’s Two Lone Swordsmen is the perpetually brooding atmosphere). The lysergic combination of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and ‘90s dance tropes is exactly the kind of thing Primal Scream tried so hard and failed so badly at with Riot City Blues.
It’s not just Scotland’s favorite roving troubadours who get shown up by Weatherall and Tenniswood’s latest material, though; one of the things Wrong Meeting II does best is show the current crop of indie-dance kids how to do it, too; alongside LCD Soundsystem and Von Sudenfed, Two Lone Swordsmen are compelling evidence that rock ‘n’ roll’s eternal fetishization of youth as the font of creativity is a crock, as these old timers demonstrate more ideas, more tunes, more danger, and more depth than any of their would-be heirs.
So TLS aren’t afraid to include both the crawling-to-thundering bass metronome of “Shack 54,” something between dub and Krautrock, and the jagged robot hoedown that is “Hey Deborah Anne” alongside the sinister, slinking guitar and organ warnings of “Born Bad/Born Beautiful” and the subdued brass of “The Ghosts of Dragstrip Hollow.” And, as you’d expect from these master alchemists, everything sounds terrific, from huge kick-drum hits, scratchy guitar strokes, and spacey melodica lines to the kind of microcosmic tension-and-release loops that form the bedrock of gorgeously strung-out closer “If You Lose Control of Yourself (You Give It to Somebody Else).”
Wrong Meeting II is close enough to Wrong Meeting in both style and quality to play them back-to-back and call them a double-album, but thankfully, given its wider availability, defined enough to stand up on its own. As for which is better; it’s just too close to call.