Desertshore – Dancing of Threes

January 01, 1970

(Caldo Verde)


Working within the same somber
parameters that defined Drifting Your
, last year’s sublime debut, San
Francisco chamber quartet Desertshore create a series
of shimmering soundscapes that place emphasis on mood rather than melody. Guitarist
Phil Carney retains the same stoic stance that he procured with his former
band, the Red House Painters, while finding the perfect foil in classically
trained and evocatively oriented pianist Chris Connolly. The instrumental
pieces – “Light Flowers,” “Pollen Hinges” and Hellborg” – are short and slight,
but they resonate with an elegiac grace that enhances the ambiance overall.


Still, the focus falls mainly
on Mark Kozelek, who makes a return appearance as producer, bassist and
vocalist on six of the set’s ten tracks. Kozelek, who was also a prime member
of Red House Painters, instills the same downcast demeanor he shared both in
that band and Sun Kil Moon, his current combo, and the hushed harmonies that meander
through these sensual offerings find a similar sense of wide eyed repose. Some
of the interludes are quite lovely – specifically the easy drift of “Mercy” and
the atmospheric strum of the inexplicably named “Randy Quaid” – but like most
efforts that follow this formula, Dancing
of Threes
is primarily background music for ambient enthusiasts.


Flowers,” “Mercy” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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