Red Star Belgrade

Telescope

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    9
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More sonically varied and all-encompassing than previous Red Star Belgrade efforts, Telescope, is an ambitious and complex song cycle that defies categorization. Opening with the tempo changes, seething slide guitar and combative lyrics of the title track, the album soon takes a detour into the Byrds-ish 12-string electric guitar jangle of "Dreaming 'Bout You." Quickly jumping to mandolin on "Strum & Rhyme," and the all out country twang on the exuberant defiance of "Highway to Hell," Red Star Belgrade showcase some of their most unabashedly country tendencies. The swirling pedal steel of "Nixon Stamp" almost diverts attention from the fact that the song is really a rather scathing denouncement. Post-grunge guitar crunch rings through on "No Pound" and "Count Me Out," quickly giving way to a solo piano ballad, "Long Cold Day," that almost recalls Neil Young. Bill Curry, in addition to brandishing his always sharp tongue, takes on an altogether wider world view in the stark tale of Kosovo refugees in "The Border" and the sense of disillusionment found in post-revolutionary Iran in "After the Revolution." All in all, this is Red Star Belgrade's most eclectic, most consistent, most challenging, and ultimately, most enjoyable effort. Realistically, it might be one of the best the alternative country genre has produced.

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