Angel Dean / Sue Garner

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Angel Dean and Sue Garner might not be related, but they're definitely kindred spirits of old traditional country-meets-mountain tunes á la The Carter Family. Sounding like an upbeat and up-tempo Be Good Tanyas, songs such as the hillbilly-meets-jug band "In the Shell" sparkle with sweet harmonies and accompaniment from fiddle player Clare MacTaggart. The standout tune is the closing "Morning Blaze," a track that has a Celtic sway etched into its sound and surrounded by lovely gospel hues. "Old Graveyard in the Woods" recalls Gillian Welch if she was singing with her clone, a Southern-tinged tune that is a tad more fragile than the opener. On the other hand, the light lullaby touches of "Dreams" takes a slightly Lilith Fair-pop framework, bringing to mind a twangish Indigo Girls. The duo revert to a toe-tapping yet winding ditty on the fabulous "Losin' Ground," aided by a lone acoustic guitar that changes gears along with their vocals. The biggest selling point has to be their fabulous harmonies, which are never more apparent than on "Dark Sky," the first gem that rises to the fore. "Wider World," however, with its '60s folk style, misses the mark, especially with the needless clarinet. As the album progresses, they veer further from their earlier sound, as the poppy Hawaiian-like "Quarry Pond" is dark in tone and odder in its dreary yet catchy chorus. Fortunately, "Rose of the Desert" gets back to their strengths as a bass harmonica gives it flow. "Barn" ventures into a tension-filled territory á la Lucinda Williams, but rarely gets off the ground. However, when they keep things relatively simple, as they do on the pretty "I Still Could Not Forget You Then," it makes you realize they have something quite special to offer.

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