Has Lightning Bolt gotten the funk? Well, no. But one of the treasures of listening to them is discovering the many sonic colors and grooves that are created by their epic brand of noise and drone. The band’s first release since 2005’s Hypermagic Mountain, Earthly Delights a sludgy freakfest that blends in some psychedelic and country (!) riffs while maintaining its goal of peeling the skin off of your face and laughing.
That mix of the familiar with the risk-taking is most evident on “S.O.S,” where the usual swirl of noise threatens to spin out into full-on mania. It is one of the greatest and darkest moments in the band’s history. Likewise, the harsh bottom-heavy riffs of “The Sublime Freak” are almost catchy, almost funky. “Sound Guardians,” “Rain on the Lake I’m Swimming In” and “Colossus” remind more than they reveal, but even though they sound like typical Lightning Bolt, the joke there is that there is no typical Lightning Bolt. There is always something in the band’s bass and drums that elevates and scares.
Earthly Delights shows the guys are willing to tinker with their signature sound, and let those accidents fall when they will on each ear that checks them out. I think their point all along has been to throw out the bombs and let the audience sort them out.