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Viewfinder

Pullman

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Album Review

Making their debut with 1998's Turnstyles & Junkpiles, a collection of instrumental acoustic tapestries cut live to two-track tape, Pullman initially seemed like a one-off proposition. It would be nearly four years before the quartet of multi-instrumentalists — Ken "Bundy K." Brown, Doug McCombs, Curtis Harvey, and Chris Brokaw — would enter the studio again, each member dividing time between a number of solo and group projects. The follow-up finally arrived, however, in the form of Viewfinder, a collection of home-studio concoctions and group recordings at Soma Studios. This time around, both drums (played by recruit Tim Barnes) and electric instruments have been allowed into the fold, though the trajectory itself remains essentially the same. Once again, the interplay between the various stringed instruments (ranging from guitar and bass to e-bow and bazouki) is as much the focus as the overall structures of the compositions. In fact, in the music of Pullman, the two are one and the same. The expanded sonic palette gently beckons the group into a wider frame of reference. Electric guitars and lap steel spin ringing atmospheric tones and syrupy sustained notes around acoustic foundations that recall the early work of John Fahey, while Barnes' drumming gives the music increased definition on songs like "Or Otherwise," "Felucca," and "Brewster Road." Throughout, individual displays of virtuosity are shunned as the band continues to put the songs first. On Viewfinder, the quintet simply let these complex and understated structures speak for themselves.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the many criss-crossing collaborations between a number of '90s U.S. indie rock veterans, Pullman brought together Bundy K. Brown (Tortoise, Directions in Music, Loftus), Doug McCombs (Eleventh Dream Day, Tortoise, Brokeback), Chris Brokaw (Come, the New Year), and Curtis Harvey (Rex, Loftus). The members of Pullman had all played and/or toured together in some form or another throughout the '90s and recorded Turnstyles and Junkpiles in 1998, following with Viewfinder in 2001. Both records,...
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