The Sadies

Pure Diamond Gold

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Few bands approach the sheer versatility of the Sadies, live or on disc. On Pure Diamond Gold (the follow-up to their stellar debut, Precious Moments), the band lurches from Johnny Cash-inspired storytelling country ("It's Nothing to Me," "I Tried Not To") to Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet influenced-surf instrumentals ("Rat Creek," "Venison Creek), while veering off into Nuggets-era garage rock ("Talkin' Down," "Walking Boss") and hillbilly rock and gospel ("16 Mile Creek," "16 Mile Creek Breakdown," "Higher Power"). Pure Diamond Gold consists of songs recorded on two separate occasions -- one a 24-track session with Steve Albini, the second an eight-track session (dubbed the "seven o'clock chicken" session) with Don Pyle (of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet) -- however, despite the differences, the songs hang together well as a whole. In addition to the slew of strong tracks already mentioned, the Sadies best moments here come in the form of the haunting "Eastwinds" (with vocals provided by Catherine Irwin of Freakwater), the surrealistic plane crash narrative of "With a Splash," and the slow-building instrumental "Cloud Rider" (complete with "howling" provided by the family dog). For fans of country-tinged, twangy rock, it doesn't get much better than this.

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