The Parting Gifts

Strychnine Dandelion

by AJ Ramirez

30 November 2010

cover art

The Parting Gifts

Strychnine Dandelion

(In the Red)
US: 9 Nov 2010
UK: 15 Nov 2010

The Parting Gifts exist as an opportunity for Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright and the Ettes’ Coco Hames to pair up, rope in some other indie/garage rock travelers (Dan Auerbach, Patrick Keeler), and play around with whatever tropes found in the dustier confines of their record collections strike their fancy.  On the group’s debut album, the Gifts dabbled in everything from relaxed mid-tempo rockers (“Bound to Let Me Down”) and barn-burning country rousers (“My Mind’s Made Up”) to soulful R&B (“Hanna”)—basically anything that would sound great coming from any well-worn workmanlike band playing at your local dive bar.  One of the satisfying attributes of Strychnine Dandelion is that the production is raw, yet nuanced enough to perfectly evoke the original feel of the sounds the assembled musicians are immersing themselves in.  However, that also means that the Parting Gifts constantly straddle the line that divides homage and pastiche. There’s no greater purpose to the record than to replicate old sounds for the fun of it, and thus the record is limited to being a mere simulacrum.  Despite the pleasing execution throughout, in particular, the lustful yearning of lounge-y blues number “My Baby Tonight” and the driving garage rock of “Don’t Hurt me Now”, it’s hard to fully accept that as a laudable purpose in of itself, and it results in a somewhat empty listening experience.

Strychnine Dandelion


We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media

Call for Music Writers... Hip-Hop, Soul, Electronic, Rock, Indie, Americana, Jazz, World and More

// Announcements

"PopMatters is looking for smart music writers. We're looking for talented writers with deep genre knowledge of music and its present and…

READ the article