Excuses For Travellers

Excuses For Travellers

Score

And if you get drunk or stoned enough, they sound just like the real thing.

If you heard the first two [a]Mojave 3[/a] albums, you know the drill by now. Simple, tremulous, country-tinged camp-fire strums in the spirit of [a]Galaxie 500[/a], [a]Nick Drake[/a] or Mazzy Star. Neil Halstead, or occasionally Rachel Goswell, will spin a freewheeling tale of wonder and loss, while steel guitars and trumpets complete the tastefully melancholic mood. Mmm. Nice.

The difference this time is small but significant, in the overall high quality threshold – from the silken slo-mo waltz of ‘In Love With A View’ to the listless Dylan-lite stumble of ‘She Broke You So Softly’, there’s not a bum note here.

Which is not necessarily a recommendation. Because if you stand too close to these tunes they can seem suspiciously perfect, like a newly painted Wild West movie set. Those languid pedal-steel twangs are a mite too studied and Halstead‘s open-ended musings a shade too passionless, peopled by the sort of poetic losers and truck-stop philosophers who exist only in books or films, not the messy, unpredictable shambles of real life.

[a]Mojave 3[/a] are never going to surprise us, or themselves, because they are ultimately peddling overly polite pastiches of traditional songwriting forms and elegantly faking the baleful, lonesome-cowboy emotions within. And why not? These are brilliantly rendered virtual-country laments. And if you get drunk or stoned enough, they sound just like the real thing.