Detective Kalita The Michael Parks

Everyone loves a good mystery. Not only is there a mystery of who the titular man is, there is also a lovely air of mystery to all of front-man Andy Swan’s compositions. Take the opener and standout track "Altona, MB” for example. Why one would compose such an elegiac and beautiful song to a decidedly Mennonite community is, of course, up to him, but all that matters are the results. When Swan trembles ever so slightly when singing "Manitoba, Altona” over the slide guitar and hushed drums, it easily draws the listener in and provides a great introduction to the rest of the songs here. Some are cut from the same folk nature of the opener, with both "Fairweather Friends” and closer "We Have Nothing to Fear Except Death Himself” being great examples. But the real genius of Parks comes through the poppy numbers of the mind-bendingly catchy "Mary 16” and "Best Man Blues.” Although one may gripe about a lack of singular vision, that criticism is not warranted here. Detective Kalita are a band that deal with melody in its many forms. Moving between Parks different points just boast an ever-increasing mastery of that art. Keep that in mind and at least some of the mysteries present here will be solved. (Kelp)