Chris & Carla

Swinger 500

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Recorded with help from fellow Walkabouts and other guest performers, Swinger 500 finds Chris and Carla again doggedly pursuing their multifaceted muse. Beginning with a cryptic instrumental snippet with bells, trumpet and low moaning noises, Swinger 500 as always sees the two using gentle folk and country inspirations as a starting point for something far more all-embracing. As compared to the previous studio album Life Full of Holes, Swinger 500 sounds less classically American and very much inspired by the recent Walkabouts albums of the time, European elegance, nightclub grit and back alleys all combining in a drizzly, rainy evening. Not to say the roots of the two don't show -a great version of Willie Nelson's classic "Funny How Time Slips Away" sits right in the middle of the album, assisted by David Immergluck, ex of Camper Van Beethoven, who adds pedal steel and some mandolin throughout the album. David Barnes of the Bad Livers steps up with banjo and some steel himself, but this is country cast in smoky Continental light -- acts like Nick Cave or previous album guests Tindersticks provide the touchstone if any. There's the piano/percussion loop combination underscoring "Electric Wire," combined with space laser noises shooting through the late night ambience, or the slinky rhythm of the title track, which sound awfully like Cave's "Red Right Hand." Both singers are again in excellent voice, Torgerson's gentle twang and Eckman's husky whisper and low purrs perfectly suited to their songs -- for good contrast, consider her work on the burnt story of love "Black Rope Tied" and his immediately following character study "Fear." Their harmonies on the chorus, not to mention the gentle banjo from Barnes, doesn't offset the ominous lope of the song.

blue highlight denotes track pick