In the 10 years since former Plague Lounge/current Comets On Fire guitarist Ben Chasny created his sonic alter-ego Six Organs of Admittance, he’s done everything in his power to challenge his listeners with odd tunings and fervent affinity for the raga artistry of John Fahey and Robbie Basho.
But “Shelter From the Ash,” Chasny’s third Drag City release, finds him transitioning the Six Organs sound beyond the realms of experimental drone and towards the concept of fully realized songwriting. And “Shelter,” which boasts a bevy of guests including Fucking Champs/Concentrick guitarist Tim Green, Elisa Ambroglio of the Magik Markers and Chavez’s Matt Sweeney, features some of Chas’ finest tunes to date. Foremost is “Strangled Road,” a gothic blues-folk opus with outstanding acoustic guitar work from Sweeney and plaintive backing vocals from Ambroglio.
Faithful fans of Chasny’s stormy, dissonant six-string savagery won’t feel left out in the cold with “Shelter” either, as he comes through in spades on epic songs like “Coming To Get You” and “Final Wing.” Another masterstroke from one of New Weird America’s truest mavericks. — Ron Hart