Mandolin Orange: This Side of Jordan (YepRoc/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Mandolin Orange: Hey Adam
Mandolin Orange: This Side of Jordan (YepRoc/Southbound)

This North Carolina duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz mine a well-worked seam of Americana with acoustic guitars, flattened harmonies, mandolin, Appalachian fiddle and so on.

Which means they won't sound especially original to casual ears.

But in their atmospherically listless songs and emotionally turned-down narratives – which come with subtle arrangements and discreet embellishment from harmonica and that fiddle – they have a gentle but firm grip which just doesn't let go.

Their music has rightly drawn praise from the likes of Rosanne Cash (“elegance and intricacy”) but this third album isn't so grounded in some distant rural past that it can't deal with contemporary life (Morphine Girl), the jaded American Dream (“suited us just fine”), gay relationships (the gentle and affirming Hey Adam) and dreams affirmed or denied (House of Stone, There Was a Time).

There's a hymnal quality about some songs, but equally they are happy to go down town to tie one on (Waltz About Whiskey) and mournfully deal with hard times without becoming maudlin or sentimental.

Although critical comparisons with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings seem strained, this duo have created a folk-pop niche within alt.Americana which is a distinctive and welcoming place.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Any New Zealander hearing the downbeat chorus-cum-hook of the opener on this album -- "how could a plan so beautiful go so pitifully bad" -- might think they have tuned in to a Greg... > Read more

Waco Brothers and Paul Burch: Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot)

Waco Brothers and Paul Burch: Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot)

Sounding like uncles who grew up on country-punk, Joe Ely's Texas rebel rock and some early Seventies Stones albums, the rootsy but rocking Waco Brothers here pull few surprises out of those... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Morocco: A practical guide

Morocco: A practical guide

The deserts and mountains of Morocco have seen a bewildering array of oddities: Egyptian zombies; Carrie, Samantha and the other Sex and the City gals traipsing through the sand; Jesus tortured... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Wrecking Ball (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Wrecking Ball (Sony)

The occasional bombast, celebrity and popularity of Bruce Springsteen alienates many, but strip away the last two factors and any fair assessment says he frequently delivers classic rock'n'roll... > Read more