Twilight Hotel

When the Wolves Go Blind

BY Jason SchneiderPublished Jan 18, 2011

Despite their previous album (2008's Highway Prayer) earning a Juno nomination in the Best Roots & Traditional category, this Winnipeg, MB duo's work still went criminally underappreciated. Perhaps that's partly why Brandy Zdan and Dave Quanbury relocated to Austin, TX a year later, and the change of scenery has greatly rubbed off on this new effort. The foundation of When The Wolves Go Blind is once again the pair's dark narratives, such as the chilling "Mahogany Veneer," but the album's immediate impact is conveyed through its sultry desert vibe. Producer John Whynot borrows heavily from the T-Bone Burnett/Tom Waits sonic playbook, drenching everything in vintage reverb and making the assembled cast of musicians tango until they're sore. Unfortunately, some of the duo's more meditative material gets bogged down by this approach. In some cases, such as "Frozen Town," their spot-on harmony could have easily stood on its own. However, when that occurs on closer "When I'm Gone," any missteps along the way are quickly forgotten.

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