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The New Familiars

Between the Moon and the Morning Light

(Self-released; US: 5 Apr 2011; UK: Import)

Not-so-memorable set of country-rock tunes

The New Familiars are a four-piece that uses a range of mostly-acoustic instruments to create music imbued with rock ‘n’ roll energy. Opener “Icarus” marries Mick Jagger-esque vocals with scratchy guitars and shimmering mandolin accents, while “Smile” utilizes pedal steel to good effect. There’s an abundance of sonic variety here, thanks to guest musicians providing notes of banjo, violin, melodica and horns. Somehow it all comes together, although many songs are less than memorable even after repeated listenings. “Macadam Glaze” is an exception, with its breathy vocals and rumbling percussion, and “All in All” has some nifty moments of what sounds like slide banjo. Too many tunes, though, are mid-tempo country-folkie-rockers that pass by without making an impression.

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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.


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