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Album Review

In September 2001, Will Oldham, Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia, and Alasdair Roberts of Appendix Out met up in Louisville to record what would become this EP, a one-off project called Amalgamated Sons of Rest. Given the core trio of forlorn voices involved, this seven-song (including a bonus cut) album sounds like about what you'd expect: dark, wistful, and sparse. A general format is followed: One singer takes lead vocals and the other two add backup. The instrumentation is mostly acoustic, with drums and piano making brief appearances. Roberts starts things off with a reading of the traditional "Maa Bonny Lad." Oldham follows with an almost spoken-word interpretation of the whaling ballad "My Donal," while Molina completes the circle with his own brooding tale, "The Gypsy He-Witch." Roberts' "The Last House" and Oldham's "Major March" pass somewhat unnoticed, but the EP ends nicely with Molina's "Jennie Blackbird's Blues." The trio finally jelling, it's the only song that doesn't sound at all tossed off. (The EP ends in earnest with an obligatory-sounding hidden track, "I Will Be Good," which was written by Oldham and sees the trio singing in the round, trading off lead.) While there aren't a lot of surprises here, Amalgamated Sons of Rest is a pleasant enough curiosity for fans of any of these three indie folk standard-bearers.

Amalgamated Sons Of Rest, Amalgamated Sons Of Rest
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