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All Most Heaven - EP (Digital Download)

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Album Review

One of the more perplexing of Will Oldham's between-album projects, All Most Heaven is also one of the most satisfying once fully digested. A joint release with well-traveled Chicago sideman Rian Murphy (who produces here), this release is the lighthearted counterpart to the somber and prayer-like Get on Jolly EP, which was released around the same time. Grandiose and overblown in almost every way except it's length, this four-song, bite-sized EP has the sound of a Disney movie soundtrack. Arranger Jim O'Rourke leads an indie rock all-star team which includes a good chunk of Drag City label roster — from Smog's Bill Callahan to David Grubbs to Edith Frost — not to mention Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier and Archer Prewitt. On top of this lush, intentionally overwrought musical backdrop, Oldham, with his trademark warble, belts out some of the best nonsense verse since Lewis Carroll, which, hilariously, is printed on an enclosed lyric sheet. (Sample: "fame I'd a said all a ba hoo/fame all a nod is a game/a fagen horror/and a low berra don.") The effect of all of this, because Oldham only just hints at actual English words, is that not only do you hear something different instrumentally with each listen, but you hear different words too. For those willing to put in the effort, All Most Heaven has one of the best four-song payoffs of anything in Oldham's canon, not to mention a ridiculous must-see rear cover showing he and Murphy leg wrestling.

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All Most Heaven - EP (Digital Download), Rian Murphy
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