Tulsa Drone Songs from a Mean Season

For a dulcimer to provide reassurance is uncommon, but when confronted by a (mostly) instrumental quintet that threatens to re-re-retread post-rock, noticing they have a dulcimer/harmonica player can defuse the panic. Richmond, VA’s Tulsa Drone don’t completely un-stick themselves from the post-rock tar ponds but they muster their quirks and marshal their forces sufficiently to keep them afloat. After a good opener, the album drifts a little before "Huntsman” and "The Plague,” the latter featuring guitarist Erik Grotz’s best Stuart A Staples/Peter Murphy approximation, bring it back on course. While Grotz’s vocals aren’t exactly powerful, they do wield a certain dark moodiness from which the album draws strength. From that point on the album simmers with shadowy malevolence, from spaghetti western redux theme "The Catch” through to dense, distorted dirge "Brace,” ending with a blast of actual fireworks and melancholy on "Laurel Street.” Let the air dulcimer heroics fill the Midwest bedrooms of America. (Perpetual Motion Machine)