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The Tide and the Current

(Velvet Blue Music/Spune; US: 1 Jan 2009; UK: Import)

Fort Worth, Texas’ Telegraph Canyon has a chamber Americana sound and endured endless comparisons to My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes. The band shows its own side, however, even if lead singer Chris Johnson is a dead ringer for Arcade Fire’s Win Butler. On its sophomore release, The Tide and the Current, Telegraph Canyon brings quiet, innocuous lines into swelling, remarkable epiphanies. Soft chimes and a capella portions of songs give way to echoing, booming vocals and crashing drums.


Throughout, Johnson switches between banjo and guitar and sings with added vocal harmonies from violinist Tamara Cauble and bassist Chuck Brown, creating grand, sweeping moments and tiny, dwindling moments alike. This seamless transition keeps the fascination continuous. Shake Your Fist” follows this formula, with chimes in the verses and smashing drums and soaring guitars plus violin and organ during the refrain. The song simmers out just as it began, with feedback melting into synth and quiet percussion.

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