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Album Reviews Well assembled and sublime

GEORGE FOGARTY and JAMES NALTON review the latest from The Room in the Wood, Tiger Lillies and Crooked Ghost

The Room in the Wood
The Mars EP
(A Turntable Friend Records)
★★★★

THE ROOM in the Wood have delivered an EP of varied compositions which still somehow manage to work as a four-track ensemble.

Opener Mars Won’t Save Us is well assembled, from the main riff to the subtle chorus and effective lyrics.

Echoes of the past in the vocal reverb bring to mind The Doors, while there are hints of Interpol, who themselves may have been influenced by the music served up by Dave Jackson and Paul Cavanagh’s early 1980s new-wave band The Room.

There's an earthy, roots feel to country-guitar rumbler Every Lie, which is accompanied by a scything putdown of right-wing populism.

Time Machine is reflective, while the Latin-tinged Get Clear looks forward and, on this showing, there are plenty more good things to come in future from this duo.

James Nalton

Tiger Lillies
Corrido de la Sangre
(tigerlillies.com)
★★★★

THE LATEST from the legendary “Brechtian punk cabaret” trio is a concept album telling the macabre story of a mariachi musician who falls in love with orphan girl Maria.

Needless to say, complications abound, not least the witch who also loves Maria and the drug lord in whose hacienda she works — it turns out there is something of a trail of those who have paid the price for such affections.

The story unfolds as brutally as one would imagine, with the jolly oompah of pieces like Don Hector belying some grisly lyrical content. Stand out track Devil is a delicious blend of thundering drums, Jew’s harp, ska accordion and psychedelic brass creating something of which Tom Waits would be proud.

With singing saw, scuzzy delta blues guitar and mariachi trumpets also featuring prominently, this is a supremely cool album which will be enjoyed by fans and newcomers alike.

George Fogarty

Crooked Ghost
Skeleton House
(Palomino Records)
★★★

IF IT’S possible for a band to sound like their name, then Crooked Ghost are that band. Slow, haunting shoe-gaze opener Body in Stars sets the scene for the next 35 minutes.

The tempo increases on the more uplifting passages, but only briefly, and after each buoyant moment there's a period of reflection. The menacing Witch Heart, standout track Catch Fire and single Sleepwalker offer up some post-punk that occasionally brings to mind east coast band the Walkmen.

Only Nightmares is another title which peaks for itself and, along with Black Cat, breaks the album up nicely, with its echoes of the Bunnymen lurking deep in its corners.

Penultimate track Roadkill has its upbeat moments but retains the chilling atmosphere which is there too on album closer Skeleton House.

You’ll want to listen again, perhaps not knowing why.

James Nalton

 

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