A Distant Episode

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Brimming with an alt-country twang that has to be heard to be believed, Meanflower kicks this album off with "White Sands," a waltz-like track that comes off similar to the work of Ryan Adams or the Cash Brothers. Lead singer Dave McCormack has a deliberate drawl to his voice on most of these slow and somber tracks. "The desert holds some tiny scrap of hope/I just pray I can find it among all this sand," he sings over a sparse acoustic arrangement. A tad more rock-oriented is the lovable and infectious "Portland," despite some repetitive lyrical content. "In" misses the mark slightly, a cross between roots and pop along the lines of the Connells. The album as a whole could be mistaken for Rolling Stones demos circa "Let It Bleed," each number solidly building on its predecessor. One of the album's rollicking tunes is "Only Thing I Wished For," a nicely polished radio-friendly tune perfected by Hootie & the Blowfish. The singer/songwriter quality to these tracks is their selling point though, especially on the one-two punch of "She Don't Care" and "Baby's Off to Sleep." An integral part of the album is the subtle accordion heard throughout most tracks, courtesy of Tom McCormack. "Time & Distance" has a weary quality that a group such as Blue Rodeo has mastered over time. One item that might annoy some listeners is how the arrangements tend to be a bit repetitive at times, but the group has the talent to pull it off each and every time. "A Place I've Never Known" has a hymn-like quality, mainly because of the keyboard weaving its magic throughout. A fabulous debut.

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