This band has been around since 2000 and I have never heard of them which is a damn shame (shame on me!) because their recent album “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” which, by the way, is a brilliant name for an album, is incredibly grand in incredibly minimalistic gestures. Their music goes into the direction of folk/country from the dark parts of the woods, I would compare them with O’Death, if the feel of them wouldn’t be so much more like The National, only dragged through the dust into a mountain-distillery. Their singer Adam Turla has a voice….well, I thought he was 70 years old and has worked the railroads with 12 whilst being taught Country music by a guy named Johnny but instead, he is quite young and sports impressive mutton chops ( I love me some mutton chops). Their music has not the nearly manic urgency of O’Death and even their opulent songs (like “Lost River”) have a calm that seems to come from the center of everything, the life and the universe. They do get pretty Rock’n Roll at times (“Straight at the Sun”) but there is an old-fashioned quality to their music that feels so raw and real. I love it. I do love a bastardized version of folk- and country-music anyway, twist it and turn it, until it feels like it’s actually been through something to feel the pain.
The beauty of their album is, that their sound immediately is so unique and their own, that you don’t have to listen to 12 songs to know what they are about, BUT you will find something new in every single song, a new nuance, another shade, another darkness. It’s like meeting someone and immediately feeling the connection but they are still able to surprise you again and again.
According to an album-review by invisiblevanguard.com, their new band member Scott Brackett has done a lot to sow some more instrumental touches into the music, letting them grow subtly around the straight-forward and therefore incredibly beautiful vocals.
As the review also points out – and I guess that was my point when I mentioned their calm – despite all the instrumental details, background choirs and galloping songs of the album, it never loses focus, never gets lost in a cacophony which can happen very easily in the weirder parts of Americana music. This is also the reason why “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” will be great during the first listening session but will grow more and more with each replay and boy, do I love those big waves of blues running through this album.