CHRIS BROKAW – Gambler’s Ecstasy

January 01, 1970



Chris Brokaw hasn’t been quiet in the six years since Incredible Love, recording a half-dozen
albums in the interim. Still Gambler’s
the first real guitar pop album for Brokaw in more than half a
decade, once again threading the songwriter’s sandpapery voice through thickets of rock guitar and drums. Brokaw works mostly
solo, but Tortoise’s Doug McCombs and John Herndon turn up to add density to
the long album centerpiece, a droning, kraut-pulsing, faintly hallucinatory cut
called “The Appetites.” Here Brokaw’s voice seldom rises above a murmur, the
tone confidential but the words abstract.


Likewise, the music sounds more
accessible than it is, layering indie-rock strumming with oddball melodic
flourishes. Later Thalia Zedek’s violist, David Michael Curry embellishes the
album’s lone cover (“Crooked” from Cincinnati
band Wussy) with melancholy swoops of strings. Brokaw makes his best lyrical
statement in “Danny Borracho,” a barn-raising, tongue-biting snapshot of
scenester pretense. Gambler’s Ecstasy takes some risks, pursuing diverse styles and eccentric paths to tunefulness, but
it mostly comes up sevens.


Borracho,” “The Appetites” -JENNIFER


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