Pity poor Thalia Zedek. A longtime staple of the Boston music scene—as well as a force behind the legendary New York noise band Live Skull—Zedek has lived two lifetimes' worth of inner turmoil and chemical conflict. It's no surprise, then, that Come, Zedek's musical vehicle of choice the past few years, isn't exactly a pick-me-up: The band's songs are unabashedly mean and bitter. But Zedek has been strong enough to overcome a debilitating drug addiction as well as the loss of Come's longtime rhythm section, and the group (sporting a new drummer and bassist but retaining guitarist and sometimes-singer Chris Brokaw) is clearly imbued with that strength. Gently Down The Stream continues the rebound begun on 1996's appropriately titled Near Life Experience. Zedek's hoarse, decidedly un-feminine singing is well-suited to Come's bluesy intensity and dark, angry vision, while the new rhythm section of Daniel Coughlin and Winston Bramen nicely matches Zedek's piercing pathos with restrained but effective instrumental backing. Come, however, is a slow-burn band, with power that arrives in part due to patience; even when the wound-up tension finally springs into passionate release, the haunting, harrowing vibe never truly dissipates.

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