Album: Richard Fontaine, The High Country (Decor)

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The Independent Culture

Resolute in their rejection of Hollywood happy endings, the songs Willy Vlautin writes for Richmond Fontaine are downbeat narratives, related against the tints of a subtle Americana-rock which yaws between country, indie and ambient, as the action demands.

Here, they constitute chapters of a dour novella set in the Pacific northwest logging country, starting out grim – a late miscarriage, an amputation – and ending up grotesque, with almost every character left in pools of blood or shallow graves. It's an accomplished effort, deftly mingling narration, instrumental interludes and multi-character scenes; but the fascination with doom and blood is so relentlessly pointless and negative that it makes the average gangsta-rap tale read like Enid Blyton.

DOWNLOAD THIS: The Chainsaw Sea; Let Me Dream Of The High Country; Lost In The Trees; Leaving

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