Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Over two previous albums this Seattle-based outfit weren't easy to pigeon-hole (alt.country, boho-folk, indie.something?) but were always interesting because of that, and not the least for singer Peter Quirk's distinctive vocals which were “quirky” for want of a better word.
Here however they really throw in some visceral and edgy material (the abrasive and tense Black Leaf, the psychedelic spook voodoo of Outer Realms) alongside brooding backwoods menace (Falls where an Appalachian Doors get old time religion and quit town in a hurry) and strange, evocative narratives (Haller Lake).
Quirk's singing has become stronger and more tar-coated, the
arrangements for small string parts and keyboards are more complex
and there are discreet influences from drone music, blues and Middle
Eastern melodies alongside their strong core of alt.folk.
Things falter a little around the
midpoint (Clever Creatures sound like Lou Reed gone to Texas,
the harmonica-embellished Haystacks you've heard before from
the likes of Peter Case and the Waterboys) but the dreamy folk of
Distant Sures and the unexpected Indo-electronica of Faze
Wave redeem things.
An interesting and worthwhile direction from a band which has always been worth hearing and, once again, seldom delivered the expected.
If they are new to you, here's where you make their strangely compelling acquaintance.
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