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Jimmy Carter Syndrome

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Album Review

The fourth solo album from Slim Cessna's Auto Club's Jay Munly, Jimmy Carter Syndrome is hardly a departure from the brand of spooky alternative country common to both his cohorts and their kindred spirits in 16 Horsepower (both of whom have numerous members making cameos). With songs dotting nearly every point on the spooky spectrum of tangled backwoods eeriness, Munly drowns tales of broken spirits and violent encounters under whirling guitar reverb, foreboding cello, creepy autoharp, and a cacophony of ghoulish chorus singers. Whether recounting a surreal meeting with former boxing star Jerry Cooney (bizarrely paired with a bevy of early rock neologisms) on "Cooney Vs. Munly" or a gruesome childbirth on "The Denver Boot," Munly is an engaging storyteller with a properly tortured vocal style, though his shtick does seem to be somewhat predictable to a certain extent. At nearly 70 minutes, though, it's an ambitious project that offers more than a few rewards for those who like the darker side of quasi-folk. Overall, the kind of album that makes you never want to venture into rural America after dark.

Jimmy Carter Syndrome, Jay Munly
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