Maryrose Crook with The Renderers

Maryrose Crook with The Renderers

Maryrose Crook with The Renderers

Ghosts of Our Vegas Lives

3 Beads of Sweat

Maryrose Crook and The Renderers hail from lush, Middle-Earth-archetype New Zealand, geographically near Australia, but climate-wise, quite far removed. The dusky and dusty paths these folks trod are more akin to the mythological desert Nick Cave visits with every one of his albums. “Under the Sea” begins the disc on an appropriately brooding and lonesome note. Sparse instrumentation leads a drifting, hard-worn melody through some truly beautiful sonic landmarks — a sad choir of horns being one of them — to a grinding metal close which shatters the placid calm created throughout the song. This quietly sinister template is reprised a number of times over the course of the album, hitting its peak on the elegant closer “The Outgoing Queen.” Along the way, however, the band is guilty of recycled vocal melodies, arrangements and music dynamics. It works wonders sparingly, but multiple songs pulling the same tricks and maxing out at over 5+ minutes will try the patience of ardent alt country listeners. The ride gets even bumpier elsewhere: “Night Train” makes a play for railroad rhythm, but the attempted heft doesn’t yield much of interest. The same goes for “Sea of Total Darkness,” it’s tinged with shades of Mercury Rev, huge swirling guitar distortion and an ill-used wah-wah pedal. It’s a millstone around the neck of lyrics already drowning in theatricality. Ghosts of Our Vegas Lives would be a great EP, but as a full-length it doesn’t hold up. Hopefully the band will ascribe the aesthetic that less-is-more when it comes time to track their next album and they’ll be golden. Until then, there’s always the skip button.

3 Beads of Sweat:

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