Town and Country

It All Has to Do with It

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    5
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The third release from Chicago's Town & Country continues the band's tradition of acoustic experiments with subtle textures and quiet sounds. At times having a similar feel to the more acoustic guitar-tinged work of Joan of Arc, It All Has to Do With It never jumps out at the listener. Instead, the music creeps around, and hard-to-find rhythms provided by two standup basses continuously swell and relax with the interplay of piano, guitar, bells, and even accordion. Town & Country has no real rhythm section, a factor that contributes a strangely freeform aspect to all of the compositions. Nonetheless, the four tracks on this record somehow manage to fill up 40 minutes of disc space, a concept that is difficult to understand or to consider tolerating upon first hearing the album's unapologetically laid-back tones. Listening to this record at excessive volume or through headphones, however, should change the way everything sounds. With close inspection, it becomes evident that beneath the relatively constant feel of the album is a swirling and oft-changing backdrop. The 15-minute closer, "That Old Feeling," slithers around slowly while a consistent drone reaches out from below, leaving the listener questioning whether or not to believe that Town & Country doesn't use electronic loops for any of the band's creations. Superbly crafted and beautifully recorded, It All Has to Do With It is an expansive sonic experiment that is as relaxing as it is enjoyable.

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