Able Bodies

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It's become an oft-told tale that in the middle of recording this album, the members of the Virginia group Spokane were in a car accident from which they fortunately escape unscathed (despite flipping several times). That experience seems to have cast an ominous shadow across this album, and Lord knows what musings on mortality it provoked in leader Rick Alverson (also of Drunk). Able Bodies is a disconcertingly dirge-like collection fraught with an utter sense of dislocation. The arrangements can be ponderously slowcore at times, moving with an almost glacial weight. However, the string section of cellist Molly Kien and violinist Maggie Polk adds an old-timey and haunting emotional quality that saves the songs from the quicksands of way-too-heaviness. Also adding depth to the arrangements is Alverson's often stirringly poetic imagery (try "I set my thin trunk of ribs in a room/My full set of teeth by a horsehair broom" on for size). This can be disconcertingly haunting listening, but if one cares to immerse themselves in the moody world of Spokane, the rewards are surprising and many.

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