Desert City Soundtrack

Lest you think Desert City Soundtrack's album Funeral Car might contain a few rays of sunshine peeking through the dark clouds, the first track, "My Hell," sets the record straight. It begins with slow, deliberate piano, soon accompanied by a mournful trumpet and then joined by equally downtrodden vocals gently crooning, "Two loveless arms sit so simple when you stayed over." But that's not to say that each of the 12 tracks--though all obsessed with death and the sad, remorseful, spirit-crushing bits of life before--is redundant in any way. The four musicians (Cory Gray on piano, trumpet and vocals; Matt Carrillo on guitars and vocals; Mike Casanova on bass; and Caitlin Love on drums) take this album to extremes--from whispering to screaming, from quiet insightful moments to pounding rage--without ever losing control. That doesn't mean the music is restrained. "Drawn and Quartered" tempers seemingly out-of-control driving pianos and desperate yell-singing with the subtleties of dramatic pauses and a song-ending chorale. Some of the lyrics--maudlin, defeated, resigned--are lost in the cacophony, but they're just one element in a landscape. It's the complete attack of vocals, piano, guitar and rhythm section that works so well, making the emotions almost tangible. Death, whether of a person or a relationship or a dream, doesn't always come quietly. There is no one correct emotion to have. But Desert City Soundtrack's onslaught of passion covers many of them.
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Shannon Sutlief

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