Low Valley Music
I’m embarrassed to admit that this isn’t the band that I thought it would be when I elected to review it. Thus, the simple and well-meaning disclaimer here is as such: I Don’t Normally Review This Sort Of Music. Nevertheless, Euclid’s particular brand of neo-folk, lo-fi Americana is uniquely interesting, and after listening to it, I must admit that it was a refreshing listen from what I’m used to.
The Carthage EP opens with “Little Dove,” which is easily the worst song on the album and seems to exist primarily in order to set a mood for the rest of the disc. This doesn’t, in my opinion, work. It’s a slow, plodding vocal track with almost no instrumentation other than the irritating fake scratches that supposedly make it sound like old damaged vinyl. Fortunately, the rest of the effort is much better. It’s moody and overwhelmingly sad, evoking both the downtrodden cowboy spirit of “old country” and a more modern, ethereal eeriness chin-deep in the sort of dreary atmosphere that accompanies a late evening and a low, thick fog as it descends over a deserted southwestern ghost town. There’s a little bit of Cranberries-esque melancholy-rock in there too, I think, and it all flows in a solid, effortless way without feeling the least bit artificial or forced.
The lyrics paint a picture of early pioneer settlers and their struggles. Although they might be quite topical, they definitely come off as a bit awkward at times. Despite this, Katrina Whitney’s vocals are haunting in the same manner that Connor Oberst’s are, and yet somehow also manage to conjure up comparisons to Patsy Cline and Beth Orton. At the right moments, she can easily send a tingle all the way up your spine.
If nothing else, the band has managed to do something very unique here: straddling a number of genres and yet not succumbing to the typical failings of any one of them. Although I’m a long way from being able to say that I’m a huge fan, it’s definitely the sort of disc you earmark for late rainy nights when you’re all alone and out of whisky, and in dire need of something to keep the tears flowing.