You expect a certain amount of DIY eccentricity from any band named for a Shaggs song, and Foot Foot certainly delivers. A married couple, Robin and Josh Brown, make up the core of this unvarnished anti-folk outfit, whose plain spoken songs push simplicity into interesting corners. Robin Brown writes most of the songs and sings them in her flat, country voice, a blunt instrument but an appealing one. When she harmonizes with herself—notes flaring and fading and edging into discord—it is like honesty set to music, with not a trill or hitch of artifice. Her voice, a bit like Karen Dalton at her roughest, is so jarring and distinctive that at first you might not notice that “Well Song” lifts whole verses from Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day”. Brown’s singing gives an appealing roughness to delicately phrased poetry, amplifying the naturalistic imagery in the lyrics and making it more concrete. Likewise, the rock arrangements on this third-full length lend depth and visceral excitement to what might otherwise be pallid songwriter fare. “Pilgrim Hat”, for instance, splices a giddy hoe-down of electrified guitar into its unhinged call and response, while “Highway 91” starts off in a blurry barrage of metal distorted strumming. Trumpet is unexpected and oddly memorable, its scrubbed naked directness sticking with you long after the last note fades.
// Notes from the Road
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