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Album Review

The Lawrence, KS-based (hence the album title) duo of Jeff Stolz and Wallace Cochran creates a peculiarly Midwestern take on the mid-2000s subgenre of "freak folk." In other words, this album is pretty weird, but in an appealingly unpretentious way: Drakkar Sauna aren't trying to convince you of how weird and out-there they are in the manner of the increasingly annoying Devendra Banhart: a closer point of comparison is the first couple of albums by the Holy Modal Rounders, when they were just a couple of Harry Smith-obsessed city boys who liked to turn the old weird songs into the new and even weirder ones. The results are obvious in tunes like the clattering "The Debut of the Tambourine Shoe," which features the titular instrument up against a wheezing pump organ and glorious, whining anti-harmonies by Stolz and Cochran, and the jolly "There Is No Boon for Which We Do Not Render Service." Just catchy and straight enough to appeal to folks whose interest in folk music pretty much ended with Arlo Guthrie while maintaining its experimental art cred, Drakkansasauna is as endearing as it is quirky.

Drakkansasauna, Drakkar Sauna
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