Prairie Soul

Wooden Nickel

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Although it may take while for the listener to accustom themselves to lead singer Cory Danyluk's vocals, it's worth being patient. The opening "Van Gogh Sunflower" features an offbeat approach to the verses and chorus, with a traditional country arrangement. For some songs, Danyluk seems to run his vocals against the arrangements and not with them. This is evident in "Bad Art," but the piano and chorus give the song some much needed flow. The group works much better on slower melodic ballads, such as "(Legend of the) Ruby-Eyed Dragons," but Danyluk's performance seems just a tad forced in places. A large part of the record features some stellar harmonica solos, particularly during "Horsefeathers." It's also the first time Sarah Jane Card's violin and backing vocals are audible. The best track is "Swandive," a song where Danyluk does his share and nothing more vocally or lyrically. Unfortunately, "Open Letter to Myself" doesn't live up to its potential, with Danyluk sounding as a cross between John Hiatt and Tom Waits. Average lyrically, the song has verses that seem a bit disposable. "Last Song to You" is another strong song where voice and arrangement complement each other almost ideally. Pop-oriented tracks like "Damage Noted" work well, particularly when Danyluk is given free reign for his harmonica solos.

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