Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
With only the odd slug of southern discomfort to warm their frostbitten hearts, Nashville's [B]Josh Rouse & Kurt Wagner[/B] are the latest travellers to negotiate alt-country's bittersweet terrain....
A mini-album just five tracks long, 'Chester' sees the duo's dappled muse trot listlessly round a creative cul-de-sac. Though Wagner's lyrics are as queasily bathetic as ever, Rouse - who assumes sole charge of tune-scribbling duties - appears content to contribute as little as possible lyrically. His hazy, semi-conceived visions stretch only as far as the bass-slappin', matted-beard blues of 'Table Dance' or the Tim Buckley-in-a-coma yawn that is 'I Couldn't Wait'.
Only the deceptively sweet 'Somehow You Could Always Tell' sees the duo's creative horns lock successfully - a fleeting glint of needle-sharp, paranoid invention twinkling through the apathetic fug. With neither the conviction or enthusiasm to turn their hobby into a fully-operational concern, Rouse and Wagner's meek lurch for alt-country's tarnished crown seems simply gauche. Back to the day job, boys.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album