Fort Recovery

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Centro-Matic's Fort Recovery is what the magic hour -- that time just before the sun goes down when everything looks burnished and beautiful, but also a little sad -- would sound like if it were turned into music. Every song, from rousing rockers like "For New Starts" and "Take a Rake" to "Covered Up in Mines" and "I See Through You," positively radiates a bittersweet warmth. Over the band's decade-long existence, Centro-Matic's Will Johnson has built a reputation for being a wry, evocative writer, and titles like "The Refugees Have Won" and lyrics like "Patience for the Ride"'s "you can't touch the forces of our hurricane hearts" are a welcome reminder of why that is. Indeed, the main thing that's changed over the band's career is the sound quality of their albums. They've gone from below bare-bones recordings to detailed productions like the one that graces Fort Recovery. Centro-Matic sounds equally good in either setting, but the interesting drum sounds on "Take the Maps and Run" and the electronic flourishes sprinkled throughout the album make the most of the album's polish. They also make the most of staying in that fuzzy area between alt-country and indie rock; while that's not a particularly big territory, they've mastered it. With Centro-Matic, more of the same is definitely a good thing, and Fort Recovery shows that they just keep getting better at what they're doing.

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