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On his first solo LP, Seattle’s Brisbois abandons the blasting guitars of his ‘90s roots-rock outfit 4 Ft. Ramona (he’s also been in The Buckets, Acme Band, and Lava), for something drastically more hushed. Brisbois’s bio compares his music to Wilco and R.E.M., and you can indeed detect traces of Jeff Tweedy in his bucolic, reassuring drawl, while the mandolin-flecked “A Better Animal” and gentle, twangy “Take Me to the Sun” evoke R.E.M.’s “The Wrong Child” and “E-Bow the Letter,” respectively. But you’ll also hear Neil Halstead and Grant McLennan on the Low/East River Pipe-conjuring beauties “Not Her” and “I Feel Alright.” Whether he’s reimagining one of William Shakespeare’s most renowned sonnets as a ghostly, spaghetti western-tinged ballad (“Sonnet 18”), or reminiscing about an old flame with angelic-voiced Chelsea Carothers (the beguiling duet “Perfect Black Dress”), Brisbois’s compassionate folk is mollifying.
“A Better Animal”
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