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Drunken Barn Dance: Grey Buried *

Album Notes

On their second album, Michigan quintet Drunken Barn Dance offer up a sound that brings to mind an earlier era of indie rock -- the early- to mid-`90s heyday of bands like Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Ass Ponys, and the Sand Rubies. Like them, DBD spin offbeat, affectingly lyrical yarns mated to meaty riffs whose lo-fi feedback `n' fuzz feel nods to vintage Crazy Horse. It's the kind of sound that feels like it was built from the ground up, without too much worry about how it fits in with the trends of the day, something that's more easily accomplished far from music-biz centers like New York and L.A. Making a statement as simply and directly as possible seems to be important to the bandmembers, and they made Grey Buried accordingly; all the instrumental tracks were laid down in a single eight-hour session, sans overdubs, with vocals added afterwards under similar strictures. But what emerges on these ten cuts is not some shambolic, garagey din -- the six-string clangor feels completely purposeful, creating a wide-open-spaces kind of landscape on which singer Scott Sellwood's idiosyncratic scenarios can be played out to perfection. Sometimes Sellwood's imagery is poetically oblique, but he's also able to tell stories that feel quite grounded and real, like the near-homicidal frenzy of an incest victim's boyfriend on "Ain't No Weather Fouler." Sellwood hits his lyrical stride when he's aiming somewhere in between, though, as on "No Love," a strange, symbolic tale of an ill-starred couple who continually "bury" each other in different locations all across the country. And as left-field as the subject matter may sometimes get, Drunken Barn Dance's no-nonsense guitar muscle always provides plenty of sonic ballast throughout Grey Buried. ~ J. Allen


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