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Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Medicine County Julian Marszalek , April 7th, 2010 07:08

Despite a prolific work rate – that'll be an album count that goes well into double figures and well-documented collaborations with Billy Childish, The White Stripes and Mudhoney among others – Holly Golightly remains a slight figure in the eyes of the general listening public. That remains their loss yet for those who have seen her grow from her Medway garage past to her current incarnation as a curator of the American South's well-mined roots. Indeed, this latest collection is a highly satisfying trawl through the numerous forms of American vernacular music.

The shimmering guitar and ethereal organ of opener 'Forget It' is the kind of otherwordly burlesque that would either sit comfortably soundtracking one of David Lynch's more nightmarish visions, or have Nick Cave calling on the phone. Yet this is something of red herring for, as the album progresses, it becomes apparent that the more bucolic and sun-drenched sounds of the South are the order of the day. 'I Can't Lose' and the title track owe more to the legacy of Hank Williams than they do any images of Southern Gothic and are delightfully evocative in their honest execution.

As you'd expect on projects such as these, the source material is never far from hand and so it is that that spirit of bad luck and despair is invoked on the cautionary 'Jack O'Diamonds' and the lachrymose lament of 'Dearly Departed'. But there is more to this collection than rustic delights from times long gone by. Wreckless Eric's 'Murder On My Mind' becomes grinding, twanging call and response duet between Holly and her partner-in-crime (the enigmatic Lawyer Dave) that doffs its cap to the dynamic that existed between Johnny Cash and his wife June.

What really characterises this fine album is the genuine love for what Holly is doing. This isn't pastiche or a second-rate impersonation and the lack of cynicism and calculation is evident from the first note the last and it's precisely this sense of honesty that'll ensure repeated listens to the compelling world that she's created.

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