Rumbleseat

Rumbleseat Is Dead
(No Idea)

So often have the similarities between punk rock and country/folk been stated that acoustic guitars have become nearly as colloquial as reggae in the language of punk. But this dozen-song set by Florida hardcore veterans Rumbleseat is exceptional for its palpable melancholy and consistent quality. Broad and ringing, the dual acoustic work is an unpretentious bed for the odd harmonium, harmonica and slide guitar licks that ring over the top. The bell-like vocals of Samantha Jones (of the band Bitchin') gorgeously foil the hoarseness of Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard (both of Hot Water Music), particularly on an understated version of "Jackson," the Johnny Cash and June Carter duet. These tunes are less intent on innovation than immersion in the mythos of freight trains and whiskey. But there are little surprises throughout -- the hypnotic refrain in "Saturn in the Crosshairs," and shrewd turns of phrase, like "I saw heaven, I saw hell, and I wanted to visit them both," from "Trestles." On paper, it's been done. In practice, rarely with such grace.

 
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