American Catastrophe

Excerpts from the Broken Bone Choir

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Excerpts from the Broken Bone Choir, the 33-minute, six-track debut recording by American Catastrophe and the inaugural offering from Kansas City, MO-based record label OxBlood Records is packaged in an all-black cardboard container that bears the band's logo, a silver silhouette of what looks like a crow, its talons curled around a hatchet. The container is closed with a wax seal impressed with the logo, which probably seems like a really cool graphic touch unless you're the one who actually has to open the damn thing in order to play the CD. That can only be done by ripping the packaging and perhaps breaking a fingernail. For your trouble, you will find inside a black feather along with the disc, which, when it finally is placed in a player, reveals American Catastrophe to be a group that has spent time listening to Nick Cave, Johnny Cash's American Recordings, and maybe "The End," by the Doors. Slow tempos are maintained by the acoustic guitars and droning electrics that underlie lead singer Shaun Hamontree's deep, anguished voice, all of which is perhaps to be expected from the name of the band and the album title and all that torn black cardboard. You may end up thinking that it would have been better to preserve your manicure and just consider this an art object, to remain undisturbed.

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