“I’m so sick of this town / But I really love this town”, sings Dust Poets’ Murray D. Evans over an irresistibly jaunty shuffle beat on the title track to Lovesick Town. If you can appreciate the simple brilliance of that sentiment, you’ll probably enjoy the small-town charms of the album. The smart lyrics are complemented by a warm combination of country, folk, jazz, and circus music: Think a less strange latter-day Tom Waits, or a more strange Fairground Attraction. The band’s lyrical and musical smarts even overcome Evans’s voice, which is unpolished in a non-endearing way. It’s wise, then, that he hands over vocal duties to multi-instrumentalist Karla Ferguson for the album’s real gem, the funhouse romp “I Married a Magician”. (“I married a magician and he sawed me right through / He said he had enough love to satisfy two”). The combination of craft and palpable honesty makes Lovesick Town one of the year’s best surprises.
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