London W1 Improv Theatre

The way that [B]'Good Funeral Weather'[/B] bridges both folk and pop by infusing twangy country ramblings with abstract melodicism is frequently reminiscent of [a]REM[/a]'s [B]'Life's Rich Pageant'[

The Wild West isn’t so wild any more. The great American frontier has been Tarmacked and tamed. On this, their second album, California’s [a]Granfaloon Bus[/a] – like kindred spirits The Palace Brothers, [a]Smog[/a], Guided By Voices, Thinking Fellows Union – exhume fragments of Americana that have escaped the vacuum of suburbia, giving voice and resonance to the geographical and emotional backroads of the rural fringe.

So there’s talk of buffalo and Winnebagos in ‘I’m A Leaf’, ghost towns and lawn chairs in the sublime ‘Seeded Clouds’, Coors beer and wartime pin-ups in ‘Some Kind Of Other Love (WWII)’. These references are sewn into a rich, moving, and frequently humorous lyrical tapestry by mainman Felix Costanza, who even manages to deliver lines like, [I]”I can finger Mother Earth’s G-spot just by searching around for yours”[/I] like a vagabond poet with his hand on his heart.

The way that ‘Good Funeral Weather’ bridges both folk and pop by infusing twangy country ramblings with abstract melodicism is frequently reminiscent of REM‘s ‘Life’s Rich Pageant’. Yet its greatest achievement is that in rummaging through the rusty detritus of the (specifically American) psyche, evoking the loneliness of huge windswept plains while describing party snacks in Tupperware and ‘For Sale’ signs on hearses, it manages to find a poignant kind of grace.