Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Album review: THE DELINES - Colfax

Highlights: Colfax Avenue, I Won’t Slip Up, Sandman’s Coming, He Told Her The City Was Killing Him


This is one of those why the hell do you need a review when you can just look at the album cover situations. There’s this engrossing, atmospheric darkness swallowing the city with only a few neon signs flashing out of the night. The effect is both lush and narcotic, and you know you’re in for a great deal of style.

In Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Colfax Avenue is a place of late nights, drugs, prostitutes and alcohol. While definitely conscious of that, these songs occupy a world of romance, heartbreak and longing. It’s a world of Paul Westerberg’s regular, but more soulful and less raw, less desperate. The city (might be Denver, might be not) is killing you but there’s still chance you will not slip up.

The songs on Colfax are these beautifully crafted things sung in a way that is both world-weary and intoxicating. Some tunes are less charismatic and get lost in the process (the closing “82nd Street” has a beautiful guitar line and a pleasant if not especially articulate melody), but this is an album that has to be taken as a whole. In all its bluesy, country-ish, jazzy vibes of hopelessly late hours. Standouts include “I Won’t Slip Up” that is a tune to get lost in, the sad but strangely uplifting story titled “He Told Her The City Was Killing Him” and the soft piano-driven lullaby “Sandman’s Coming” that I could very much imagine on an early Tom Waits album. 

This is thoughtful, mature songwriting for soulful people. Sung by Amy Boone and written by Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin. Interestingly, keyboardist Jenny Conlee is with The Decemberists. The Delines may turn out to be a one-off project, which is yet another reason to say Colfax is nothing if not special.

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