Schooner Hold On Too Tight

Schooner Hold On Too Tight
I love CDs that come out of nowhere and hit a nerve. Straddling a mix of dark country and indie, most of the songs on this North Carolina band’s second album achieve the perfect atmosphere. Possessing a voice akin to a more melodic and expressive Brett Sparks from the Handsome Family, Reid Johnson’s delivery is one of the main selling points. Take "Married,” where Johnson’s slow drawl and lament of "And you’re married” is affective enough but combine that with a slow slide guitar and his sister Kathryn Johnson’s harmonising and you have something breathtaking. The band also dip their feet in a ’50s vibe with "Pray For You to Die,” featuring a Johnson croon that is creepy and beautiful. Also, the epic "Tears In Your Ears” is worth a mention, where a lone piano makes for an amazing complement to Johnson’s vocals. But this is not a perfect album, as some songs come and go without notice, and the band try their hands at genres that don’t work as well. If they had tightened this up it would have been incredible, but the end result is still something that is gorgeous and dark. (54 40 or Fight!)