On Paranoid Cocoon,
last year’s debut Cotton Jones album, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw took a big
step away from the idiosyncratic indie-rock of their former band, Page France.
While moments foregrounded the orchestration and veered into dreamy
psychedelia, Paranoid Cocoon had
rural roots, with give-and-take duets and touches of twangy guitar and soulful
organ; it was a low-key charmer.
Tall Hours In The
Glowstream strips things back even further: it’s understated and gentle,
full of mournful ballads and darkly contemplative ruminations. Nau drapes his
reedy voice in reverb-he occasionally recalls Will Oldham-and juxtaposes it
with surprisingly crisp percussion: a slow tambourine beat, the syncopated tap
of a bell or snare drum. Like McGraw’s vocals, Tall Hours sometimes threatens to fade into the background: it
could pick up the pace more often, as it does when “Glorylight And Christie”
locks into a delightful marching band strut. But there’s real beauty here,
especially in the high lonesomeness of Nay’s vocals, and in the soft and subtle
details that buoy these thoughtful songs.
DOWNLOAD: “Glorylight And Christie,” “Somehow To Keep It Going” STEVE KLINGE
[See the Fall 2010
issue of BLURT, due on newsstands in September, for our profile of Cotton