Music Reviews

Sin Ropas

Trickboxes On The Pony Line

Sad Robot

The whole record is so gorgeously ramshackle and unhurried. I was telling people, this was how I wanted to make records. Sloppy, leisurely, on a back porch in the twilight where the drone of the guitars would carry out over the hills. Trickboxes On The Pony Line is kinda like a cowboy Velvet Underground. It’s way country, but with a huge reverence for the power of the drone and feedback. Mantras. The dust makes me cough. Yet again. Cough, cough.

“Hands Inside” starts out with careless guitar and woozy drums that barely seem to be able to hold it together. This veneer of ragged spontaneity is further propped up by the vocals, a mix of Mark Lanegan’s gravelly mumble and a gorgeous falsetto. There’s razors inside these tumbleweeds though. “Butter On Cane” is hands down the strongest on the record. The singer can barely bother to get his lyrics out, above a simple drum shuffle, and two or three gorgeous droning guitars. Fucking country My Bloody Valentine, this is so goddamn brilliant. There’s an out-of-tune stringbending solo that is just mindblowing. The song seems to sputter along by virtue of its own lovely entropy. I usually end up listening to this one like six times straight.

“Candy Cobra” is all tremulous vocals, slide guitar, what sounds like a toy piano and random tappings on a bass drum. Yet an affecting order rises out of this mess. “Floorboards” reminds me of Madder Rose at their most best (remember that first album) but totally zonked out on tranquilizers and languidly playing as slowly as possible. There’s some beautiful keyboards and maybe even a singing saw too. Lyrics drooled out about “dirty Christians” just enhance the overall blissed-out mood. “Syrup Coat” is probably the most downbeat and spare track on there, just two vocals, one low and gravelly, one high and harmonic, some lazily strummed acoustic guitar and underwater lead electric guitar. So wonderfully sad and apathetic, I’m picturing it being about frustrated love and I feel fucking less alone already.

“Crumbs” – arrgh, this one is incredible. Starts with drums (that sound almost trip hop, Appalachian trip hop), breaks down into a hymnlike strum and then picks up again with seesawing electric guitars and an extended devotional coda. “Mays Letter” is so fragile and ancient and sorrowful that it probably wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Boy vocals, girl vocals, buzzing organ, very distant electric doodles and spare fumbled banjo, along with two-hundred broken hearts. It’s such a fitting ending to a strange and wonderful southern gothic lament. Two billion times better than that last record by them that I reviewed.

Spacemen 3 reincarnated as the Carter Family! Man, I don’t fucking know anymore…

Sad Robot Records:

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