Dual Mono

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A Denver-based quintet that usually vacillates between old-timey acoustic bluegrass string band music and rocking alt-country, Oakhurst were quite right to name their third album Dual Mono. Most of the album combines both of their musical approaches into a set of concise pop songs that lack the loose jam band quality of many Colorado acoustic bands but maintain a rootsy, rustic quality. According to album's press kit, the album was recorded in a variety of rural locations around Colorado, with minimal overdubs, and there's certainly a brisk live quality to the album. A.P. Hill's unpretentious, conversational lead vocals try neither for faux "authenticity" (which usually involves twenty-something college dropouts from the suburbs singing through their noses in poor imitations of A.P. Carter) nor for blue-collar rock-dude earnestness à la John Mellencamp, and all five players are casually excellent, without the need for showboating solos or flashily speedy playing. The songs are a low-key lot, unfailingly pleasant but only occasionally truly memorable, which makes Dual Mono an enjoyable but not particularly engrossing listen.

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