Red House Painters

Red House Painters [II]

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The second of two self-titled 1993 efforts, this Red House Painters collects the remaining tracks from the remarkably fruitful sessions which also launched the earlier, superior album. Far more experimental in nature, it opens with "Evil," an almost painfully slow and withdrawn song which acutely sets the album's haunting, dark tone. While not everything works -- the electric version of "New Jersey" pales in comparison to the previous set's acoustic rendition, while the cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" is overripe -- both the unrequited love song "Bubble" and the dysfunctional "Uncle Joe" rank among Mark Kozelek's most perfectly realized compositions, and the closer, a marvelously downbeat reading of "The Star Spangled Banner," allows the group's often unsung black humor to seep to the surface.

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