Pinetop Seven Bringing Home the Last Great Strike

Record reviews often end with a recommendation; this one begins with an exhortation. Please buy this album and support Pinetop Seven, a band gifted enough to make beautifully crafted music that lingers in the mind long after it's finished playing, and gutsy enough to steer clear of virtually every marketing niche. Legions of American folkways are referenced, but it hardly fits the alt-country mode, given the influence of European masters of wistful soundtracks like Nino Rota, not to mention American minimalist composers. Gorgeous pop melodies abound, embedded in arrangements incorporating vibes, marimbas and banjos, but despite Pinetop Seven's eclecticism, there's nothing gaudy or even all that eccentric about them. They shrewdly tread the fine line between austerity and lushness, in keeping with a lyrical richness that weaves its hypnotic spell within its stark, Raymond Carver-style tales of slowing becoming undone. Pinetop Seven have everything that makes a band a critics darling and utterly baffling to radio programmers, so there's a very good chance you won't hear this unless you buy it, and I think you want to hear this. (Truck Stop)