Cold Satellite is the six piece band led by Wisconsin singer songwriter Jeffrey Foucault that sprang fully formed in 2007 after poet Lisa Olstein allowed him to set some of her words to music resulting in Cold Satellite’s self titled debut album. No less a person than Greil Marcus singled the album out for attention and now, several years down the road the pair produce their second collaboration with Cavalcade, a full blooded rock album that recalls the likes of the Stones and The Faces back in the days. Olsen herself doesn’t appear on the album leaving Foucault and his talented band to deliver the wares. The presumption is that she provided most if not all of the lyrics, if so then the join is not evident as there’s no sign of verse being shoehorned into song here.
With three guitarists on board (Foucault, David Goodrich and Hayward Williams) plus pedal steel from Alex McCollough Cold Satellite conjure up some stirring moments while the rhythm section of Jeremy Curtis and Billy Conway anchor them perfectly. While there are some songs that would not sound out of place in Foucault’s day job as a very fine Americana purveyor there is a sense that he and the rest of the band are having some great fun in letting their hair down and rocking out.
The kick off with the sonic blast of Elegy (In A Distant Room) riffing away on a wall of guitars as Foucault proves he can shout with the best of them. A thrilling corkscrewed guitar solo entwines with the pedal steel before some feedback closes the curtain. A fine start. Necessary Monsters is a pumped up John Lee Hooker boogie shuffle which slides along with élan. The title song is a magnificent slice of acoustic and organ driven southern rock recalling The Allman Brothers in their heyday. They get heavy on the hammering Silver Whips and Tangled Lullaby while Pearlescent thrums with menace as guitars splice the air. It’s all pretty thrilling to listen to, lean with no fat. There are some quieter numbers which nestle easily amongst their noisier neighbours. Bomblet starts off as an acoustic ballad laced with pedal steel until a tortured guitar solo (remember them, it’s allowed here as the song seems to be about stadium rock) takes it into the stratosphere. Glass Hands purrs along like a sleek feline while the closing Every Boy, Every Blood is Foucault in his best Jackson Browne mode as the band gently support him. Overall it’s a great album.