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American Catastrophe
Excerpts From The Broken Choir
Oxblood Records


I guess I should have known by the wax seal on the cover and the black "raven's" feather inside the packet - and possibly the likeness of the crow with the hatchet on the cover - that American Catastrophe was playing the gothic game. And while the band obviously draws from the darker side of things, they're very talented and create music that is easy to listen to, whether you lean towards the goth or not. The six songs on Excerpts From The Broken Bone Choir have a very Swans-ish flavor, both vocally and musically, but rather than the decidedly evil post punk flavor of M. Gira's music, American Catastrophe approaches their songs with a dark Americana tint. At certain times songs remind the ear of a slower Nick Cave ("The Well") or a less whiskey-haunted Tom Waits. Tracks like "Hang 'Em High" take a border sound and draw it out into a slower dirge, capturing the essence of glorious goth-rock bands like Fields Of The Nephilim, minus the blistering guitar lines and speeding drums. "Wither" begins with Bauhaus-ian chimes and lower vocals before building into a lightly orchestrated Human Drama-esque track.

So, if you like the darker music with an Americana twist, check out American Catastrophe. If you like what you hear here, then check out Angels Of Light, Nick Cave, Human Drama, etc, etc. for more of this glorious gothic-tinged folk music. It's all the good of meaningful music with a haunted cast… perfect for those sleepy fall days.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. The Well
2. The Farm
3. Broken Bone Choir
4. Hang 'Em High
5. Wither
6. Tension


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Mike Doughty



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