From The Desk Of The Jesus Lizard: Pentangle

In the early ’90s, the Jesus Lizard—vocalist David Yow, guitarist Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims and drummer Mac McNeilly—was untouchable. Not literally, of course—if you were at one of its hundreds of shows in that era, you could very easily touch ’em. And given the amount of time Yow spent slithering on top of the audience, you probably didn’t have a choice in the matter. Denison and McNeilly will be guest editing. Read our new MAGNET Classics feature on the band’s Liar album, one of the most important LPs of the ’90s.

Pentangle

McNeilly: I understand what the word “haunting” means, and if I use it to describe the sound of early Pentangle, it doesn’t even come close. I am at a dead end already in describing this band. Yes, they forged their sound from traditional English folk music, jazz and early music, yet they remained always aimed at their own vision. This band had a sound that was very much “in your face” but not in a heavy-rock fashion Instead, they were a complete unit that was able to sit with itself and brood, then take off in familiar-yet-new directions. You can easily fall under the spell of the vocalist, Jacqui McShee. She had a voice that seemed to float on the past, with every young girl’s innocent beauty wrapped inside. Yeah, I just read what I wrote there, and it’s not fluffy, just the truth. John Renbourne, one of my favorite guitarists, was also a member. Look for his solo album The Black Balloon.

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