The Cash Brothers Phonebooth Tornado

In anticipation of their American debut on Rounder this spring, which will feature remixes from their debut Raceway, Andrew and Peter have treated Canadian fans to this new 11-song collection. This sudden burst of material obviously shows that their creative relationship continues to flourish, although most of Phonebooth Tornado finds them in an overly laid-back mood. While this trait has always been brilliantly exploited in Peter's work, going back to the Skydiggers, when balanced with Andrew's sharp tongue, it created the distinct passion at the heart of Raceway. Unfortunately, in the absence of this balance, Phonebooth Tornado crawls along at a snail's pace and requires several listens to navigate through its murkiness. The songs themselves are well constructed and once again take full advantage of the pair's fine harmonies. It's just that by the halfway point, I was begging for something up-tempo, along the lines of "You've Got A Lot Of Nerve." The last half does pick things up a little, with Peter's "Say Goodbye And Let It Ride" and Andrew's gorgeous "This Is How Birds Fly." But by then the sluggish mood has been firmly set, one that the brothers obviously seem comfortable with. Hopefully, more of Andrew's fire will assert itself in the future. (Four Chord)