The Blue Moods of Spain

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The shadowy blue-black cover artwork (complete with sultry model) is an obvious homage to vintage cool jazz albums, but Spain's compositions are much more concerned with the dark and restless interiors of the psyche than those you'll find on any 1950s jazz record. It's no secret that Spain are trying to evoke a brooding, late-night atmosphere, and the quartet succeeds at doing this with its seductive drones (with lots of languorous guitar/basslines and shuffle drums) and melancholy, pensive songs. It's a bit monotonous all at once, though, and Josh Haden's raspy, thin vocals don't bring out the potential expressive range of the material as well as another singer might. They might get tired of hearing this, but Spain should consider shopping for a lead vocalist if they want to realize their full potential; Haden ain't no Margo Timmins, Lou Reed, or even Mimi Goese (from the obscure, somewhat similar late-'80s band Hugo Largo).

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