Sooo…..it all begins here. Clever Slouchers will know that Messrs. Valdés López and How go a little weak at the knees when Seth Woods (Whisky Priest /Sad Accordions) hang some tunes out on the line and let ‘em float among us mere mortals.
Well, hailing from Austin, Texas, gives the Accordions a head start I guess so when we drift into ‘It’s a New Day’ you know that this is gonna be good. Sliding into ‘Like the Man Said’ via a gently plucked banjo here come the swirling guitars, restrained husky vocals and some Calexico-esque horns.
And it gets better….ringing drone guitars and heartbreak…’Bottomless’. Oh yes this is sweeeet.
A bad year for the Sharons was a self release by the band in 2006 and sits firmly in the rack marked ‘great undiscovered gems” and tells the story of a band called The Sharons who were/are friends of Seth so I guess its a kind of concept album about the struggle of making music and dealing with all the crap that attempting to do good art brings (and there’s you thinking it’s glamourous).
The casual listener might be tempted to dismiss the record as downbeat and there is no denying there is a healthy slice of melancholia in the grooves but listen up folks there are harmonies , clever hooks and surprising twists and turns aplenty.
It’s no surprise to find the great songs just keep on coming ‘Endings? is a bit punk just to prove the Accordions can cause heads to shake but for me the gently plucked scratchy banjo, heartbreak vocals and lonesome harmonica do it for me.
‘Closing Prayer’ is a magnificent ten minute epic that rounds things off nicely thank you. A fragile opening builds and builds to a crescendo and then fades away into the dusk.
Great album. Just played it again….
Words: Keith How