Album: The Walkabouts, Travels in the Dustland

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The Independent Culture

The Walkabouts don't make records often these days but when they do, they're usually worth hearing. In the past they've blended various European influences along with their core Americana style, but on this they come across like the Seattle equivalent of Calexico, with a song-cycle about the desert, viewed as lure and desolation, dreamscape and death.

There's a distinct No Country for Old Men vibe about songs like "They Are Not Like Us" and "No Rhyme, No Reason", in which songwriter Chris Eckman describes the emptiness "wrapped tight around you like the branches of a mesquite tree". The backdrops feature dark sheets of strings and organ, the occasional lonely trumpet, and lumpy, superstitious drums driving the menacing Western mythos to its doom: not a forgiving place, but an engrossing one.

DOWNLOAD THIS My Diviner; The Dustlands; Soul Thief