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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - L'il Cap'n Travis

eclectic reviews and opinions

Li'l Cap'n Travis

... In All Their Splendor

(Glurp, 2004)

Li'l Cap'n Travis are "alternative" country only by default: they're certainly not contemporary hit country, nor are they neo traditionalists. They're more like a country-rock bar-band that forgot it was supposed to be playing covers. The four-songwriter outfit is willfully eclectic, encompassing laconic Neil Young-styled guitar blasts, hushed and husky interludes, and even a mercifully brief stab at southern rock boogie, but their strongest material recalls 70's country artists like Porter Wagoner, Tom T. Hall, and Merle Haggard. None of those artists ever wrote a song with a hook hung on the lines "it ain't in my nature to nurture a natural fool" or "she's got a bar full of fans," but any of them could have, perhaps with not too dissimilar a result. The twangy staccato-into-legato descending riff that opens "3.2 Beer of Love" is indefinably right and essentially timeless. The playing is solid throughout, the singing is agreeably rough-hewn, and Michael Crow's recording and mixing helps it all sound more cohesive than it might, but ultimately it's the songs that elevate ... In All Their Splendor above the crowded field of Wilco-wannabes.

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