Taken Girls

The Best of All Possible Worlds

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Bandleader Dan Cohoon comes from Portland, OR, and it's no surprise he's got some fellow under-the-radar rock types from that city helping him out -- besides playing guitar, Jacob Anderson also released the disc on his Tape Mountain label. But far from being a side project, or even a variant on Anderson's work in the Gang Wizard, the Taken Girls takes its own murkily attractive path. Consisting of five instrumentals recorded live and/or on the radio, The Best of All Possible Worlds combines Cohoon and Anderson's guitars with Eric Matchett's rumbling, almost ritualistic percussion to create a blended air of psychedelic and post-punk glooms. If there is a New Zealand comparison to be made, it would be more with Roy Montgomery and Flies Inside the Sun's dark shades than the Dead C's drive to destruction. Certainly the spindly chill of the final track, recorded like the first at KPSU in Portland, has its impact mostly through the heavy echo and roiling moans of the guitars, with subtlety instead of riff action or maximum instrument bleed at the core. The ghostly start of the second track is particularly beautiful, Cohoon's prepared guitar sounding like the ghost of a feedback echo swirling around a gentle but irregular chime from Anderson. As the track's arrangement builds up, with (apparently) Matchett adding what sounds like a scraped washboard or autoharp more than anything else, the effect remains haunting but twists and builds in intensity. The fourth song, in contrast, is more of a piece, Matchett's rolling rhythm punched through both ways by Cohoon and Anderson as they switch from trebly drones and howls to sudden feedback bursts.