For all the darkness here and low-end thrum, there is a deep-seated joy that's impossible to deny. In the balladic "What Redress," the methodical cycling approaches Ocean's depths before erupting into a falsetto "oooh-ooh" finish and we're reminded, "There's nothing hurts like tenderness." Similarly, the album as a whole is a lesson in what a warm embrace really loud music can be.

The louder you play it, the easier it is to lose yourself in the individual parts, the cycling riffs, the resonance. Sometimes music like this can derive its energy from the feeling that it's all on the brink of falling apart and shooting off into space, but with Whitcomb it's just the opposite — their energy is like the swirling magma that makes up the center of the earth.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

AMBER TIDE | Released by Whitcomb | with Gozu + Dirty White Hats | at Asylum, in Portland | May 12 |  whitcomb-band.com

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