Parlor Tricks and Porch Favorites (Amish Records 1014)
At first, this disc sounds like The Shins or Iron & Wine, except if those bands were audacious enough to try to sound like Jethro Tull. Not old Jethro Tull, either, but more like that weird early-80s-era Jethro Tull, when the madrigals started sounding a little Moogy. This upstate New York neo-folk act is in a world of its own, and it's a world with many unfriendly ghosts.
A few tracks in, though, the album, apparently after taking a little too much peyote, abruptly ditches the campfire singalong and wanders off into the dark, scary woods, meditating mournfully on an imagined Indian burial ground that is, in reality, a condom-and-beer-can-strewn underage-nookie pit.
The record continues in this woozily haunting vein until it almost starts sounding like the guys from Boards of Canada sincerely trying to re-score The Wicker Man. In lesser moments it's more like Pedro the Lion sincerely trying to re-score The Blair Witch Project and/or The Brown Bunny.
But even then it's pretty cool music. Droney, death-obsessed, and isolated to such an extent that it feels like dying. In a good way, though, like slowly fading away in a warm, bloody bathtub after overdosing on heroin and absinthe. Not like hacking your last emphesymatic breath in a hospital bed or, alternately, having your heart explode during a swordfight.
Review by Swellest L. Nurseryman