Heaven, Hell, or Houston


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Heaven, Hell, or Houston Review

by Charles Spano

Anna Padgett's band, the Naysayer, may work with the template of alternative country -- apparent on the hushed, whistling opener "Dead End Road" -- but Padgett's songwriting, combined with her biting, kooky lyrics, is most closely related to the loopy, lo-fi psychedelia of Syd Barrett. Sometimes, like on the erotic narrative "66 Cicadas," Heaven, Hell, or Houston sounds like the sexy, seaward country-rock of Trailer Bride. But, while lacking some of Trailer Bride's catchiness, the Naysayer is a stranger, darker, quieter group. On "Things to Do," Padgett sings, "I've got so many beautiful and intimate and really small things to do/I've got so many things I really don't have time to talk to you," and it's unclear whether the listener should laugh or be disturbed. Heaven, Hell, or Houston is really folk music gone over the edge -- The Madcap Laughs relocated to the American South.

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