As of Mirador, Tarnation became, for all intents and purposes, the Paula Frazer band, both for better and for worse. Frazer certainly dominated Gentle Creatures, and Matt Sullivan is not missed anywhere on Mirador, but the second album doesn't have the brilliant highs of the debut. That said, it is a more consistent record, and her new developments are quite intriguing. Frazer has created a dark, neo-Spanish feel that owes as much to spaghetti Westerns as it does to traditional country, and while her songwriting has improved, it's distressing that the cover of the Nightcrawlers' "Little Black Egg" stands out on the initial listen. Subsequent plays reveal the depth and subtlety of her songs, which her rich, powerful voice makes all the more effective. If Mirador is a stumble, it's only a slight one -- Tarnation are still one of the most provocative bands dream pop and alt-country have yet produced.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine