"It would mean so much to me to know mystery," Brock Ruggles announces early on in The Great Saturday Night Swindle, but he and his new band Tierra del Fuego have crafted a debut album even Colonel Mustard with a lead pipe in the study would have no trouble figuring out. Tierra del Fuego, composed of members from Rum Tenor, El Oso Negro, and Source Victoria, offers a quiet country delivery and tight harmony approach that's a bit more accessible than Ruggles' last brilliant band, . . . and guppies eat their young. That outfit had an air of beautiful desolation about itself, but the music was all distance and reverb, like you were always looking at life's troubled turns from a closed-circuit monitor. On The Great Saturday Night Swindle, you're right in the driver's seat with Ruggles as he's "making turns and taking burns," looking heartache dead in the eye, and moving on. Even at their most despairing, these songs have a glint of hope shining out the other end, from the bright sunny day that permeates an otherwise "Vile Fucking Task" to the gospel end of all strife on "Dark Angel of Death." One listen to The Great Saturday Night Swindle and you'll believe that even the dead couple lying facedown in the grass on the murky album art seem like they might be able to work things out in the next life.
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