Those with a passion for edgy alt.country and Neil Young in vinegary acoustic-rock mode need only know Chris Eckman (the Walkabouts, the innovative Sahara blues-influenced band Dirt Music) is one of those behind this occasionally churning, electro-rock outing with musicians from Slovenia where he now lives.
The other prime mover is Rupert Huber (of the European downbeat electronica outfit Tosca) who feels a similar sense of unease and displacement.
With a chorus of women offering the spooky backdrop behind the keening and sharp guitar on Land of the Lost, groove-riding instrumentals which deliver a sense of unease (Longitude Zero has distant ululations and sinuous vocoder) and titles like Wrong Train Comin' (a whispery, poetic spoken piece like Nancy 'n' Lee in the desert before dawn) and Shame This Darkness, this album by a musical odd couple suggests emotional dislocation, restless spirits,
the shadow of death and departures.
Doubtless Hubert brought the downbeat, electronic layerings to give coherence, but throughout are alt.country narratives. Run of Days is chilling, Shame This Darkness offers the evocative "I'm not the triggerman, I'm not the bagman, I'm just the janitor who comes in on weekends" and it is like a gloomy mine where your eyes adjust to identify narrow veins of dirt-covered gold.
Verdict: An unusual pairing delivers uneasy Euro-American sensibilities
- TimeOutBy Graham Reid Email Graham