David Karsten Daniels is another singer-songwriter tapping into the dark vein of sinister Americana mined by the likes of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, but with an added layer of discomfiting dread furnished by his interest in both avant-garde and antique brass-band music. The former is discernible in the slow, minimalist swell of shimmering strings that takes two minutes to become "Minnows", and in the mantra-like repetition of the two-line lyric over a slowly-expanding, violin drone-based arrangement that makes "The Dream before the Ring that Woke Me" recall Gavin Bryars' "Jesus's Blood Never Failed Me Yet". The horns, meanwhile, bring the mood of a New Orleans funeral to "We Go Right On" and "Scripts", both about stagnant relationships of one sort or another. The pace throughout the album is painfully slow, crippled with apprehension, but it allows Daniels to effect the blend of casual melancholy and casual malice in tracks such as "American Pastime" and "Beast". An intriguing debut.
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