James Newton Howard makes a rare but welcome foray into the horror genre with The Devil's Advocate, a chilling but majestic work highlighted by its stunning choral passages. While Howard's signature fusion of symphonics and electronics is the score's backbone, his use of the human voice most effectively communicates the evil lurking within lead Al Pacino, and his decision to avoid thematic consistency is another clever tool for keeping the listener off balance, with strange, ominous noises lurking in the background to further underscore the dark forces at work. Spooky, compelling stuff.
Since forming in Louisville, Ky., in 1998, Second Story Man has carved a robust creative path: two EPs, two full-lengths and a rarities collection, shared stages with Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip and Of Montreal, and tours with Sebadoh and Shipping News. On it's forthcoming self-titled release, the band scrapped all previous material in favor of work focused on massive walls of guitar noise, broad grooves from bassist Jeremy Irvin and new drummer Drew Osborn, and braided vocal harmonies by singer-guitarists Evan Bailey and Carrie Neumayer. Engineered by friend and longtime collaborator Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, White Reaper, Ray LaMontagne), Second Story Man captures a veteran group's exhilarating, explosive turn.