‘Portents of Love’
The Kropotkins (Mulatta)
3 stars out of 5
Avant-garde collective The Kropotkins, named after a 19th century Russian anarchist, are the brainchild of composer/violinist/Ivy League professor Dave Soldier and have been making off-kilter roots music for the better part of two decades.
The intriguing “Portents of Love” is only their fourth full-length — after 1996’s self-titled debut, 2001’s “5 Points Crawl” and 2009’s “Paradise Square” — and finds The Kropotkins serving up more of their signature blend of roots, R&B, Delta blues, punk and experimental sounds. Soldier is joined by Lorrette Velvet (vocals/guitar), Chalie Burnham (vocals/fiddle/strings), Mark “Dog” Deffenbaugh (guitar), Alex Greene (bass drum/keyboards) and Jonathan Kane (drums), with all members making impressive contributions to the ensemble.
“Portents of Love” is a 13-track, 48-minute slab that requires some patience on the part of listeners. The Kropotkins might not appeal to everyone, but there are some tasty nuggets to be found in “The Moon’s Already Down,” “Fred Goes Out at Night,” “No Good Lover,” “Clara,” “Whippoorwill Blues” and “Deep Water.” Adventurous sorts should give this one a spin or two. (Jeffrey Sisk)