Amid 50 minutes of distinctive songs and unrelenting energy, Before offers no greater distillation of the band's essence than "Black Eyed Beauty." A Coulthard country ballad given new life in Coalsack terms, the tune is inarguably moving in any genre. Here, it's the album's smoking gun centerpiece, Coulthard's best lyrics ("Black is the color of my true love's heart/soulless in content like its counterpart/strong is the fragrance, long is the drag hard is the hit, white is the flag") anchoring a gorgeously lyrical guitar line by Curtis, like a loner driving deep into the desert before setting off reams of firecrackers in the moonlight. If it's been too long since a rock album has moved you, consider this album's central plea. In the words of the poet bit hard by the punk: "I'm your blackeyed beauty, calling out for thee."

BEFORE, AFTER, FOREVER, AND ALWAYS | by Coalsack in Crux | with Sylvia + Paige Turner + Vanishing Act + R.S.O. + Dead By Now + Shabti + Andrea Nobbe | October 26 @ 7 pm | Dirigimus, 43.651533,-70.290764, Portland | by donation

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