It's a tragic shame when a band plays Americana and insists on
calling their fiddles violins
this kind of dark, pedal steel-heavy
alt.country doesn't have anything to do with violin
me. But that slight semantic aside, Sleeper Car make some
real nice almost gothic alt.country in the vein of 16 Horsepower
and Munly. Michael Musikantow's voice is a bit on
the whiny side, but his guitar playing is evocative of Jay
Farrar as he rolls through these six excellent songs, accompanied
by his four bandmates. The music is on the mid-tempo side, gritty
with just the right amount of polish, and completely original
sounding. "I Won't Break Down" rocks a bit more than
any of the other tracks, while "Anti Climactic Girl"
slows down a bit and relaxes back with some fine melodic fiddling.
"Caliber Eyes" has the same flavor as Haywire-era
Frog Holler, telling a great story with powerful melody,
excellent steel guitar, and vocals that stretch almost to a Connells'
height. But it is album opener "Lay It Down" that is
perhaps the best introduction to Sleeper Car; with its rolling
drumbeats and syncopated guitar parts, this song is anything but
the ordinary thing. This is classic alt.country goodness with
a unique college rock sensibility that makes for some extremely
fine listening. Whether you want to call them fiddles or violins,
they still sound good, and so does everything else that Sleeper
Car has to offer.
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