Friday, October 9, 2009

Richmond Fontaine-plays We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River-14 songs written around and about the Pacific Northwest

Aside from having the longest title in the history of popular music, the title also gives you some early warning about how poetic this group is. Each of their songs is like the great American novel in five minutes or less. Poignant, knowing details mix with an ineffable eye for the realities of the human heart-so hard to describe, but when done correctly, they stay with you forever. Musically they mix Wilco’s strong delivery and dead-on sense of melody and Calexico’s exotic take on modern rock through a prism of country tradition (thanks in large part to Paul Brainard’s evocative pedal steel and trumpet work.) The overall theme of the album is loss, lonliness and yearning for an unsure past-best expressed in the title track which describes beautifully how things that were once comforting can become emotionally empty with the events of one night. This is an album (and a band) that will stay with you long after you’ve counted the millionth sheep on some sleepless night.
Paul Epstein

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