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Lonnie Walker

These Times Old Times

(Terpsikhore; US: 14 Dec 2010; UK: Import)

There is nothing predictable about These Times Old Times. The debut record from Raleigh, NC band Lonnie Walker is at once familiar—with the dust of acoustic guitars, the wailing vocals, the deep hooks—and wholly alien. It often assumes a country sway, from the gentler, road-weary “Compass Comforts” to the rocking fray of “Summertime”, but as the title suggests, the album both looks back at that tradition and sets its feet in something distinctly modern. Singer Brian Corum bleats out each line with tense urgency, often taking on big, nameless worries—“Is it all fucked up? Or is it all made up that it’s fucked?” he wonders in “Grape Juice”—but it never comes off as overly clever. “Let me share this old heart with you”, he pleads later in the song, just before it cuts from shimmering pastoral roll into edgy rocker. Like the album’s shifting sound, Corum’s lyrical wanderings are often difficult to pin down, but while they defy explanation, they still convey deep, resonant feeling at every turn. Over 49 minutes, the band runs roughshod through variations on sounds old and new, all the while meshing them into their own rickety noise. Rarely does music sound both this eccentric and this natural, and that strange combination is a potent one.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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