The Cash Brothers

Phonebooth Tornado

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This record, originally released in Canada as the follow-up to their debut, is more of a reflective, quiet, sparse, and warm roots journey. Phonebooth Tornado begins with the laid-back feel of "Uh Huh," which features Hawksley Workman on drums; the song is gorgeous yet very deliberate, weary but tight all at once as an electric guitar accents the concluding verses and title refrain. Unlike tracks such as "Nerve" and "Show Me the Reason" from the debut, which were grittier and more rock-oriented, "Around We Go" opts for a calmer, demo-like aura, even down to the simple strumming of a guitar. A keyboard has a haunting quality throughout. An early highlight on this very engaging record is "Journey," with Andrew Cash taking lead vocal before, once again, slowly adding instruments into an arrangement that glides flawlessly over five minutes. They perfect this format on the vast "You Know the Way," which would complement Steve Earle's Exit O in some respects. They also open things up slightly on acoustic guitar while talking about stars in the darkest night, as they do subsequently on the acoustic but anthem-like "In the Darkness." Unfortunately, the somber "I Let It Go Too Far" doesn't work quite as well. But "Losin' You" more than atones for the miscue, bringing to mind a calmer "Nebraska" from the debut. Here the melody is what carries the song along so solidly. The gem is "This Is How Birds Fly," an uplifting Americana track that recalls early albums from the Jayhawks and rolls along thanks to some piano touches. Another nugget is the look at a mundane day in "24 Hours," which has a slight hip-hop beat back buried deep in the mix. Overall, Phonebooth Tornado is a quieter album that cuts to the heart of the band -- sweet melodies supported with sweeter harmonies.

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