Tilting at Windmills

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Consafos sounds as if they've been listening to old-timey country legends and Cowboy Junkies judging by the lovely opener "On and On." Led by singer Stefanie Drootin, the song flows with an acoustic arrangement including Billy Talbot (Jr.) on mandolin. It then veers into a sound that closely resembles the title track of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. The son of Crazy Horse member Billy Talbot, Talbot keeps the song moving and winding through different melodies, always resulting in an interesting journey. "Welcome Mat" has Drootin shining with an almost angelic quality on the darker, dirge-like tune. Trumpeter David Max Crawford adds a lot of color here before changing direction again into a Beatles-like feel. The simplicity of the songs, regardless of the changes throughout, is the band's greatest asset, especially during the pure, haunting Americana title track complete with the brushes of drummer Alance Ward; "Live life live life to the full," she sings on the gorgeous song. Another fine moment comes along during the ambling-cum-Neil Young "Chelsea's Got a Knife" which could be an alt country version of the Beautiful South. Ward's harmonica is also at play on the simple, folksy roots ballad "Wide Eyed." The lone rough spot is the rut of a needle sliding along vinyl on the aptly named "Broken Record," an average song at best before fleshing itself out for its final two minutes. The surprise might be the music-box dancer feel behind "Angel From Hell" which then adds violin to heighten the tension. Consafos know what they do best and consistently do it on the grandiose yet tame "Resurrection" that evokes images of the Velvet Underground with a military drumbeat. It is an album that conjures up dark memories but whose adventurous nature leaves you grinning from ear to ear.

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