In the Frostbidden Years comes with a narrative slightly less complicated than a Coheed & Cambria album. The sub-Vonnegut short story in the liner notes alludes to a dystopian future that includes melting ice caps, a self-possessed king and a savior who travels by an aerial wind boat.
But don't let these details scare you away: While the narrative that drives these songs can seem a little bit heady or highfalutin, the band steers clear of prog-rock jack-offery. Instead, the five-piece opts for a slightly bluesy, psychedelic strain of rock & roll with equal debts to Led Zeppelin, the Drive-By Truckers and Spiritualized.
"In the Fairest of the Seasons/An Odd-Numbered Year" swaggers with the fuzzed-out guitars and righteous vocals of a White Stripes track, and "Marchland in the Morning" stomps with twangy riff that would be at home in an alt-country band's set.
Any band so fixated on a bleak, post-industrial world would have to slip a few Radiohead allusions into their songs, and sadly the band chose to ape the grating computer-voice soliloquy of OK Computer's "Fitter Happier" on "Dissonance of Communicatory Dialysis." It's the one low point of an album that moves with as much guitar muscle as lyrical smarts. While it would be easy to condemn the record for its many pretensions, Red Water Revival is so at ease in these songs and so assured of their vision that it's easier and more rewarding to go along for the ride in its wind boat.
Christian Schaeffer 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $5. 314-862-0009.
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