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Album Review

What's this — the Tom Waits Concert Choir? No, it's just the notorious Seattle fixture Jeff Suffering and his cohorts, taking an old gospel song and turning it into a cross between a queasy barroom ballad and a louche cabaret torch song. And that's just what happens in the first minute of this album; the rest alternates between a sort of jazzy film-noir alt rock ("Burning World") and a more straightforward guitar-based alt rock ("Her Blood," "There's Nothing More Beautiful Than Loving You"), much of it sprinkled with fairly subtle religious language — though there's nothing very subtle about the fact that the album opens with gospel standards "There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood" and ends with "Amazing Grace." Throughout the program, Suffering works hard to maintain an air of weirdness, maintaining a delicate balance between charming idiosyncrasy and simple chaos. When he teeters to one side, its usually in the direction of self-indulgent twaddle and he ends up sounding like a loopier version of Nick Cave. But as long as his balance holds, you get nice surprises like the string arrangement on "Potter's Field" and the disarmingly straight take on "Amazing Grace" that ends the program. Recommended with only minor reservations.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic Arrangements

The arrangements found on most of the tracks on this CD are fantastic, which in my opinion is reason enough to purchase the album. On the other hand, the actual vocals (the singing) might sound a little too amateurish for some, but I have a feeling this may have been intentional (as in creative expression). In any case, best of luck to this group!

Rats In Heaven, Suffering & the Hideous Thieves
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Customer Ratings

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