LES SHELLEYS - Les Shelleys

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-11-08

Imagine Low minus the morose, desolate vibe and pumped full of wholesome, good time Americana. Sounds horrible, right? Thankfully, Les Shelleys (Tom Brosseau and Angela Correa) also come with a side order of spooky, knotted old timey strangeness, which seeps through on this debut set of interpretations of 20th century folk songs. Tracks such as opener 'The World is Waiting for the Sunrise', 'Oh Babe, Ain't No Lie' and 'The Band Played on' are pleasant enough, but it's more unsettling moments such John Prine's 'The Late John Garfield Blues' which impress.

Throughout, Brosseau and Correa make a virtue out of their minimal, striped-down arrangement, managing to arresting results out of the most basic guitar strumming and percussion on 'Green Door' and 40s calypso novelty song 'Rum and Coca Cola'. Indeed, their rendition of Bob Dylan's' The 'Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll' is near a cappella.

Although such basic production means the album is inevitably a little one-note, the reverence with which Les Shelleys treat their source material is really affecting. For anyone looking to delve further back into American folk music's dusty past, this album is a great place to start.

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