Shannon Wright

Perishable Goods

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Shannon Wright shifts the emphasis of her material again on this stellar mini-LP, opting for a short set of spare songs that, even in doing away with the wailing dissonance that made Maps of Tacit so cathartic, are just as effective in their contemplative beauty. The majority of the songs feature Wright cooing -- in her vaguely unsettling alto -- some of the most seductively pretty melodies she's penned (especially the heartbreaking "Azalea") over the accompaniment of acoustic guitar or piano. Even the full-band psychedelia of "Foul" is pacifying, to say nothing of her inspired take on the Bee Gees' hit "I Started a Joke," which itself seems to have been inspired by Low's cover of the same song a few years earlier. (Alan Sparhawk even offers backing vocals and additional guitar to the track.) However, what's truly remarkable about Wright's ability to make an impact across the dynamic range is exemplified in Perishable Goods' bookends. Two tracks that would later appear, in much more cacophonous incarnations, on her Dyed in the Wool LP, "Hinterland" and "The Path of Least Persistence," operate here as gentle reminders rather than scathing admonishments -- and lose nothing in the translation.

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