There's nothing new about sticking a harmonica player in front of a rollicking rhythm section and locking into a groove. Pop your head into any number of bars in any number of locales on any given night, and there's a decent chance you'll hear a ragtag group of musicians pounding their way through some variety of "the blues."
What's enticing about Burlington's wickedly named Cccome? is how they slyly fuck with the notion of blues-rock, twisting stomach-turning clichés into something altogether more inventive - and far stranger.
On this, their self-titled debut, Cccome? trick out the traditional bass/drums/harp triad with the addition of electric mandolin - or "mandolin electrique," as these cats put it. Although the result sounds not that different from a Stratocaster wailing through a Marshall stack, the vibe is totally different: This is a wild, ego-shredding soul-blues - not by instrumentation or name but by sheer emotional heft.
Cccome? sidestep second-hand 12-bar by adding elements of Eastern European and gypsy music, which drive their tunes into intriguing new territories.
The group - featuring Meistah on mandolin, Jarmac T. Harvys on bass, Chris Kiper on drums and Smokey Knolls on harmonica/vocals - kicks up a curling, smoky groove on "Bateau," as Knolls shouts French lyrics into a bullhorn.
"Out" careens at breakneck speed, broken only by tribal drum fills and depraved, throat-scarring vocals. Opener "Train" is a brief instrumental that makes plain the band's musical modus operandi. The guitar, er, mandolin rips and shreds, while the bass and drums provide a clattering backdrop for wild harp flourishes.
In "Limousine" the band settles into a head-nodding stomp before slowing for a series of spacious verses. The result is not unlike Camper Van Beethoven mashed together with some of The Pixies' oddest cuts.
By the time the album blazes to a close after 46 minutes, it's hard not to have been steamrolled by this lurching, swaggering mass of sound. Cccome? rock harder than most bands Burlington bands have ever dared to, and they do so without delivering a single derivative note. Here's to the weird. CCCome? plays every Monday in April at Red Square, you can also catch them at a benefit for low-power FM station "The Radiator" at 208 Flynn Ave this Saturday.