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Dead Diamond River - EP

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Album Review

Coming nearly three years after their last album, the Dead Diamond River EP finds the Court & Spark deepening and expanding their sound. While the band never was exactly a hard-charging country-rock band, here they have stripped away any rough edges and bathed their sound in what sounds like a Olympic-sized pool of reverb and atmosphere. Even a simple acoustic guitar-pickin' ballad like "First Light at Avalon" has a smoothed-out feel that is unlike anything they have done previously. The question is does the new sound work for them, and the answer is yes. The addition of arrangements and texture have given them an emotional gravity they strove for before but had just missed. Maybe the epic layers of instruments make it seem like there is more at stake somehow. The centerpiece of the disc is the rollicking "Bar the Door, Davy," which features one of M.C. Taylor's best vocals. Overall he sounds more assured and less artlessly desperate. This EP is a huge step forward for the band. If you liked them before, you will really like them now, and if you never heard them before, this is where you should begin.


Formed: 1998 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

With few obvious alternative country comparisons, as they are neither drawn to the psychedelic sounds common to bands like Beachwood Sparks nor the rootsy rock of Son Volt and their ilk, the Court & Spark create twangy mood music. Formed around the nucleus of Scott Hirsch, Alex Stimmel, James Kim, and laconic lead vocalist M.C. Taylor, the San Francisco band moved past a noisier early incarnation to take cues from the classic sounds of the early country-rock era. Still, much as they apparently admire...
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Dead Diamond River - EP, The Court & Spark
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