Sartre said that once you name something, you kill it. That’s why it’s problematic to stick a label on Serbian-born, Barcelona-based guitarist Dusan Jevtovic‘s new instrumental power trio album Am I Walking Wrong. Is it art-rock? Noise-rock? Jazz? Metal? It’s elements of all that, but more than anything, it’s its own animal, which makes it so interesting. The punishing rhythm section of Marko Djordjevic’s drums and Bernat Hernandez’s smartly terse bass provides a heavy anchor that grounds Jevtovic’s gritty, growling, spark-showering yet remarkably focused attack.
The opening track, You Can’t Sing, You Can’t Dance builds from spacious, tensely echoing solo guitar figures to a pounding four-on-the-floor drive, Jevtovic slinging haphazardly bluesy, bent-note figures and then grinding, noisy chords that throw off eerie Live Skull-esque overtones. It ends enigmatically, unresolved. The album’s title track sets the stage for the rest of the album, Jevtovic echoing menacingly jagged Robert Fripp circa King Crimson’s Red album over a looping bassline, Djordjevic doing a pummeling Mitch Mitchell evocation. Drummer’s Dance sounds like classic early 90s Polvo as done by Eyal Maoz, maybe, while One on One reaches for a surrealistically bluesy, noisy, more straight-up Hendrix vibe that brings to mind both Voodoo Chile: Slight Return and the first verse of Machine Gun.
In the Last Moment II has Jevtovic following the first track’s trajectory up from lingering, menacinagly wavering Dave Fiuczynski-eque lines to darkly scruffy, sandpaper chords. It makes a good segue with Embracing Simplicity, one of the few tracks that’s not totally live – Jevtovic layers uneasily pulsing acoustic guitar and dirty electric rhythm behind his creepy bell tones and twistedly dancing spirals. Third Life, the album’s creepiest track, reminds of Big Lazy with its suspenseful noir theme and deep-space backward masking. After that, the trio segue from fang-baring allusions to Led Zep’s Black Dog to a warped, strolling blues theme. The last track, If I See You Again, stumbles out of the blocks but eventually gains traction with a pensively looping, tersely sunbaked, tremoloing guitar theme.
Who is the audience for this? Anybody who loves deliciously noisy, smartly dynamic guitar, and all the artists referenced here: Jevtovic deserves mention alongside all of them. MoonJune Records – home to all things global and prog – gets credit for putting this one out.