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Richard Buckner
Dents And Shells
Merge Records

Here it is, Folks. The record of the year. Hands down. If you were to hear only one record this year, make certain that this is it. Richard Buckner's latest record is full of the stuff of legend. Made up of songs filled with empathy and deeply seeded emotions, Dents And Shells is as near to perfection as any alt-country record ever has been.

Not immediately the most country sounding of Buckner's efforts, the record moves from a slowly lilting acoustic guitar based melancholia ("Firsts"), to the electric charge of rock'n'roll pounding ("Rafters"). Buried in the middle are beautifully arranged tracks, thick with guitar drones, electric pianos, and decidedly emotional vocals. Acoustic guitars reign on these tracks, driving home the attitude of the songs perfectly. "Straight" is a delicately striking showcase of Buckner's maturing songwriting talents, standing out even among these amazing songs as being extremely well-written and poignantly expressive. The album wraps with a strangely ephemeral track, "As The Waves Will Always Roll", that contains a very Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd sound, and leaves the listener in a very euphoric state of melancholia.

Richard Buckner has not only taken the sonic alt-country music that he has been purveying for the past decade and improved it, he has taken it to a divine level. The songs on Dents And Shells are sure to make certain Buckner's inclusion on the list of timeless classics, in the company of such songwriting luminaries as Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and Jay Farrar. And rightly so.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:

1. A Chance Counsel
2. Firsts
3. Invitation
4. Straight
5. Her
6. Charmers
7. Fuse
8. Rafters
9. Picture Day
10. As The Waves Will Always Roll

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