Across Tundras


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With its occasionally sloppy execution and half-baked integration of country music ingredients into their otherwise adventurous, post-metal style, Across Tundras' 2006 debut, Dark Songs on the Prairie, inspired little confidence in this Denver, Colorado-based proposition. But their latest release, 2011's Sage, shows they've come a long way over the years, and although the band's chosen musical hybrid still sounds pretty peculiar, to say the least, there's no denying the unique ear-catching qualities of new songs such as "In the Name of River Grand," "The Book of Truth," and the Native American-tinged "Buried Arrows," all of which come across like spaghetti Western soundtracks from another dimension. To a lesser degree, the same otherworldly vibe pervades slightly more linear efforts like "Tchulu Junction" and "Hijo de Desierto," which are instead steeped, respectively, in Southern gothic and Americana (or would that be "Mexicana"?). "Shunka Sapa" is another exotic highlight worthy of its title, so, all things considered, the only prevalent issues relate to the vocal work throughout, which often resembles the zombie drone of Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland, even though one gets the feeling that 16 Horsepower's David Eugene Edwards was the true inspiration. In any case, though Sage may not be positively great at all times, it's nothing less than intriguing, which suggests that, before too long, Across Tundras may have a body of work they can look back on with pride.

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