Warn Defever

I Want You to Live One Hundred Years

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You've heard of alternative country? Welcome to...what shall we call it, alternative alternative country? Warn Defever is better known, sort of, as a member of Michigan cult faves His Name Is Alive. Here he's on his own, singing his own songs accompanied by his own guitar, recorded on what sounds like a wax cylinder or something. The songs are intercut with dialogue from an old film, and there's ersatz surface noise covering everything; imagine if Beck had recorded in the 1920s, and you'll get the idea. All of that said, most of the songs are pretty dang good. "Train" uses an out of tune piano to nice effect, and "Silvy" has a creepiness to it that's hard to pin down ("Frog's in the bucket Silvy/And I can't get it out"). On both "Saved" and "Silvy," Defever sounds disturbingly like he might be nodding out (maybe we should call it "heroin country"). But on other tunes, he snaps out of it and delivers his lines with energy and commitment. Ultimately, though, it's telling that the best track on the album is the Willie Nelson song that opens it.

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