It's hard to fault guitarist-drummer Matt Cronk and drummer-singer Paul Christensen for bringing singer David Yow aboard last year. For one thing, Qui's marriage of punk, metal and progressive tropes, first consummated in 2000, offers more than enough convolutions to keep Cronk and Christensen busy, so splitting vocal chores must have been a distraction at best and a nightmare at worst. Enter Yow, the Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid veteran who easily stands as Earth's greatest undeclared performance artist: a master of confrontation who takes punishment even better than he dishes it out.
Love's Miracle finds Yow singing better than ever. All his old tricks rage intact, from his psychotic hick blurt ("Gash") to the dick-in-vise wail he deploys over Cronk and Christensen's seasick peregrinations on the chorus of "Today, Gestation." But inside the verse of the latter, he opts for intimacy, infusing the melody with nuances that wouldn't even have occurred to him a decade ago. More surprising still, Yow harmonizes beautifully with the younger musicians, crooning along on the Pink Floyd-ish "New Orleans" like he'd been doing it all his life. As on the rest of the album, Cronk and Christensen tackle the track with all the sensitivity the band's lean lineup demands, milking a wealth of dynamic extremes to maximum dramatic effect.