"Arise Therefore" CD (Drag City)
This album kicks off with an ominous song which sounds like a murderer driving down a dark country road, trying to get away from the last crime scene to wash the blood off their hands. It's threatening and stark, but the album, as a whole, doesn't advance this atmosphere. Instead, songs like "Arise, Therefore," "Kid of Harith" and "No Gold Digger" have happier tones, even though the words may depict a bleak world. This isn't an especially hopeful record, but there are times when the emotions it evokes are the only appropriate responses to situations - fear, loneliness, mourning and a small glint of hope and beauty. It isn't easy to find the latter two in this album, but they exist between the cracks, in the gorgeously, stately moments Will describes.
"Lost Blues And Other Songs" CD (Drag City)
Goddamn, those liner notes smell good! The music is standard Palace - heavy roots influences, primarily expressed on acoustic guitar with some like-minded co-conspirators contributing some time and musical skills to bring these visions to fruition. At this point, I'm cynical, bitter and jaded enough to suspect that they're visions of dueling banjos and squealing pigs, but that's what reviewing is all about - the writer applies subjectivity to a creative work and the gloves come off. That isn't to say this is a poor album. While it may not be as immediately gripping as some of Palace's other recorded efforts, it's a fine record which is just as accomplished in its own way, which is just slightly different from the preceding albums.