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Travels In the Dustland

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Album Review

One reason to be cheerful is that the Walkabouts are still going after more than a quarter of a century. Another is that they can put out an album as good as this when they've worked so long together. For more than a decade, their music has taken on a more cinematic sweep, and that seems to find its apex in this journey through a mythical American Southwest. It's an epic ambition, and one that they pull of magnificently, in large part because they have such excellent material — and it's all very definitely Walkabouts in its sound — with some glorious lyrics from Chris Eckman, one of the most underrated U.S. songwriters, a man who can pack a short story into some image-laden lyrics. But the chemistry of the band plays no small part, either, as well as the attention to detail, as with the strings and trumpet that sparsely populate "The Dustlands," for instance, adding to the song's bleakness, or the lonely double bass at the beginning of "Horizon Fade." It's an onscreen journey in the head, one that's as much about legend as physical travel, and makes a perfect companion for the sound they've been developing for so long. One of the strangest things in life is how this band has never managed to be bigger, given the consistent quality of their releases and their striving to always push further into their art. It's been a while since their last release — let's hope that the wait until the next one isn't as long.

Customer Reviews

Walkabouts - Travels in the Dustland

I have been a fan of the Walkabouts since 1985, and this is the best album they have ever done! My favorite is Horizon Fade, and all the songs have thoughtful and provoking lyrics and the music transports you the place they ask you to visit for the short time you listen to the album.

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Despite their background (punk), geography (Seattle), and label affiliation (Sub Pop), the Walkabouts were anything but a grunge band; dark, haunting, and elegiac, their work instead sprung forth from the storytelling traditions of American roots music and the kinetic excitement of rock & roll. The Walkabouts were formed in 1984 by Chris Eckman and his brothers Curt and Grant, all of whom had previously played together in a number of punk-pop outfits, along with singer Carla Torgerson, a veteran...
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Travels In the Dustland, The Walkabouts
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