Although Constellation has managed to release a fairly wide variety of different releases over the course of their nearly decade-long existence, I still wasn't quite prepared for the blast of noisy, noisy distorted rock that is Lullabye Arkestra. A bass and drum (plus other assorted friends) that includes Katia Taylor (bass and vocals) and Justin Small (drums, also of Do Make Say Think), the two have put together a thirty-five minute blast of dirty rock that dips into soul and skronk for a wild album that's a little bit too messy for its own good.
Opening track "UNITE!!!!!!" actually leads the listener into a false sense of security as some quiet string, organ, and horn strains sound something that might turn into Silver Mt. Zion-esque melancholy, but before you know it, the song cracks off into hyper fuzzed-out sludge bass and pummeling drums while Taylor and about ten other people add screamed vocals while interludes of soaring horns try to push a little elegance into the mix. "All I Can Give Ya" tones things back a bit during the beginning, allowing some soulfull vocals and trumpet to seep through before burying everything in layers of fuzz again as the track moves forward.
Other than the downcast and rather straightforward "Come Out, Come Out," (which sounds like it was pulled from a completely different album), Ampgrave basically keeps rumbling forward with largely similar feels. "Y'Make Me Shake" again finds Taylor yelping out vocals until she's redlining the meters as a rough horn harmony adds one other layer of melody on top of the relentless dirt-covered rhythm section. Other than the one track mentioned above, the album is about as far away from subtle as you can possibly get, right down to the song titles ("Bulldozer Of Love" and "Ass Worship" are fine examples). Considering their caterwauling, blasting nature, one of the biggest surprises is that the songs on the album run so long (almost five minutes apiece), and the extended (and often aimless) riffs and pummeling nature of the release just feels a bit long in the tooth after awhile (even though the album is fairly short). Definitely not for everyone, Lullabye Arkestar is like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion all rolled up in barbwire and tossed around in the mud for awhile.