Blood Meridian Kick Up the Dust

In the opening seconds of Kick Up the Dust, you’ll hear singer Matt Camirand mutter a distant, faintly audible, "Don’t worry about, Duncan, just keep it rolling.” It’s an innocuous studio direction, but its purposeful inclusion on the final tape invites consideration. Don’t worry about it. Just keep rolling. It’s sage advice, even if your name isn’t Duncan, but it’s also something of a mantra for this second studio effort from Vancouver’s Blood Meridian. On their second disc, the semi-alt-country group again offer up a dusty, Southern-tinged meditation on the tragic fucked-up-ness of things in general. But where their debut, We Almost Made It Home, was overwhelmingly bleak and pessimistic, Kick Up the Dust finds joy buried somewhere deep within. With a simple, jangly songwriting style that owes no small amount to the Meat Puppets, former Black Halo Camirand et al careen and wail their way through a tight selection of mid-tempo, last-call standards about everything from unrequited love ("Your Boyfriend’s Blues”) to working for the Man ("Work Hard, For What?”), all with the exultant smirk of a man who long ago threw his hands in the air and said "fuck it” to everything. The album doesn’t always hit its marks (the title track, frustratingly, tries for anthemic and ends up merely repetitive), but when it does, Blood Meridian make their hopeless abandon seem almost, well, enviable. (Outside)