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Futurebirds

Hampton's Lullaby

(Autumn Tone; US: 27 Jul 2010; UK: 9 Aug 2010)

Spacey, country psychedelia

Futurebirds plays a kind of psychedelic-grunge-country that manages to incorporate elements of all these genres without making any of them sound out of place. It’s the country music that stands front and center, with the other elements creeping from time to time, but it’s more Crazy Horse than Merle Haggard. Opener “Johnny Utah” is a pleasant enough slice of down-home tunage that boils over into an ocean of layered fuzz in its final minute. “There is No Place for This to Go” is a genuinely moving tune featuring sweet-but-ragged harmonies, more rock than country. “Happy Animals” opens with squalling guitars, while the gently hypnotic “Aquarium Floor” carries the listener along on a thick blanket of mid-range vocals and mid-tempo rhythms. “Man With No Knees” tries a little too had to channel Neil Young, and succeeds.


Overall the sound is languid, with plenty of reverb in the mix and a thick hazy sheen reflecting off the guitars and organ. It’s hard to say what any of the songs are about, exactly, but the vocals are soulful and downbeat, and they sure seem sincere. This isn’t a high-energy record, but after a listen or two on a rainy day, you may find yourself feeling better, even if you didn’t realize you wanted to.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Tagged as: country | futurebirds
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