Kevin Quain

Tequila Vampire Matinee

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A whiskey-soaked, cigarette-induced voice has its good points, and this Toronto barroom staple proves it in spades. Mixing in a potpourri of styles, from Tex-Mex Tejano music to somber Tom Waits ballads like "King of Everything" and "Picking Flowers," Quain has a good grasp of what works and what doesn't. Although the theme of the album seems to revolve around vampires, alcohol, and the relationship between the two, it's far from a narrow-minded and boring recording. The brief usage of flugelhorn, sax, and accordion add an eclectic tinge on songs such as "Bloodsucker Blues." If there's any song that comes off a bit weak or stale, it's perhaps "Roses & Gasoline," a song that's lyrically good but doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the album. Nonetheless, the swaying album is an eclectic and acquired taste that, once acquired, will whet your palate for more.

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