24 October 2005

venice is sinking - "pulaski heights" (from the venice is sinking / what we do is secret split ep, available for purchase here.)

in brief : despite the name, this is americana of the best sort: jangly and stringkissed, optimistic but not jingoistic.

sometimes, it's really convenient when you find great new music in your box; v. often, it comes as a great surprise.

venice is sinking is an athens, ga five-piece led by singer/guitarist daniel lawson. perhaps not surprising, given the band's provenance, his vocals are shrouded in mystery like a younger michael stipe's, though his tone is closer to someone like dean wareham."pulaski heights," however, sounds celebratory in a way that i never heard from galaxie 500 or from r.e.m. before they signed w/ warners (which, sure, would give most indie bands a reason to celebrate).

much of that impression is due to the presence of violist karolyn troupe, who demonstrates throughout this track the benefits reaped from having a full-time violist in the band. indeed, w/ all due respect to the rest of the band, it was her viola lines that caught my ears--but it wasn't until i heard those lines lock in w/ lawson's vocals right before the chorus that i knew i would would post this.

the presence of the viola and, indeed, the whole of the band's sound reminds me of the pogues at their prettiest, or an american version thereof. w/o essentializing, each band is capable of evoking through their music what makes their native land great. the synesthetic in me sees sunrises and the deepest of greens; it makes we want to take to the road and see this land. on "pulaski heights," one gets the sense of the vastness of america, in terms of both physical size and opportunity--based on this early work, the prospects for the band itself seem scarcely less vast.

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