The Ghost of Escondido

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The Ghost of Escondido defies more than one expectation, not the least of which is how the Nashville-based duo Escondido created a vast soundscape live in concert, then turned around and released it as their debut album in 2013. Multi-instrumentalist Tyler James and singer Jessica Maros at times recall a cinemascope, dream pop update of the hazy vistas of Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra, but The Ghost of Escondido also has echoes of Laurel Canyon, not to mention Mazzy Star. This album shimmers like heat radiating off the pavement in the desert; it's out-of-time, out-of-place, a panoramic pastiche of a forgotten West that exists partially on vinyl and partially on celluloid. Any sense of pretension is scuttled by Escondido's choice to record live, which gives the album air and grit, weighing it down when it threatens to float away and giving it mystery when things get perhaps a bit too authentic. It is a balancing act, propping the band somewhere between the past and present, and although The Ghost of Escondido is certainly haunted by communal memories of the past, it lingers in the subconscious because James and Maros choose to favor legend and mystique over humdrum reality.

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