Thursday, February 11, 2016

Album Review: Freakwater- Scheherazade

***and1/2 out of *****

The Alt-Country outfit from Louisville, Kentucky hasn't released an album in over a decade but Scheherazade shows them as confident and nuanced as ever.

The two main Freaks are singer/songwriters Catherine Irwin and Janet Bean who both contribute tracks and match each others vocals in an old time country/bluegrass tradition that sounds as good in a saw dust covered bar or on a moonlit back porch.

Both voices are excellently engaging, pairing perfectly and rising very high when needed. On the violin drenched "Bolshevik and Bollweevil" the soaring singing is enchanting as Bean and Irwin's interplay is easy and fluid. At other times the instrumentation takes center stage like the creaky sounding violin and guitars for "Number One With A Bullet".      

"Down Will Come" pushes the creep-out factor into overdrive as a children rhyme becomes cryptic with eerie electric guitars backing the duo while "Velveteen Matador" is more loose and rambling. One of the intriguing aspects of Freakwater is the dichotomy between dramatic and huge like the doomed waltzing of "Falls of Sleep" and soft and yearning "Take Me With You" and "Skinny Knee Bone".   

It all comes together on the track "The Asp and the Albatross" rolling, winking, tough and supped up with drama and strings. Scheherazade is another excellent one from the band put out by the consistently great Bloodshot Records, proving that both Bean and Irwin are still going strong in their own Appalachian alt-country ways. 
Support the group, buy the album and peep some video:

1 comment:

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