A song cycle largely inspired by the death of Kurt Wagner's friend Vic Chesnutt, Mr. M was designed to reflect what producer Mark Nevers describes as a "psyche-Sinatra" sound, a psychedelicised alliance between stately country stylings and string arrangements.
But as ever, it's Wagner's mix of the enigmatic and the demotic that dominates, his songs full of understated apothegms ("It's not how much you make, but what you earn") and startling lines ("I was the big prick back then"), delivered in that semi-spoken baritone.
"Nice without Mercy" is a tender evocation of Chesnutt's funeral, at which "God gathers up his jewels", but the most successful example of the sound is "Gone Tomorrow", whose coda of swirling strings and tamboura drone sounds like a Beatles outtake from Magical Mystery Tour.
Download this: Gone Tomorrow; Nice without Mercy; The Good Life (Is Wasted)
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