Esther Lee

Fifty Eight Now Nine

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This stark piece of Americana is at once traditional and experimental, calling to mind the efforts of Palace. "Call to Worship" is full of Appalachian-soaked instrumentation, while "Calico Waltz" bears the stamp of indie rock. The album is relentlessly downbeat, however, with a glacial sluggishness that's hard to shake. Any shot in the arm that breaks up the pensive atmosphere is welcome, therefore "Tempted By Kings" -- which is hardly upbeat but shows some conviction and energy -- stands out. This is moody terrain that has been covered before...and better.

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