It only takes a near death experience with an arsonist to make great music. Before making their new album, Lubbock roots rock band Thrift Store Cowboys had a stranger set fire to their trailer filled with merchandise and gear. But it appears that brush with the end fuelled this new effort, one with confidence, consistency and brilliant verve.
A perfect example of this is the slow-building but beautiful “One Gentle Inch To Nine Violent Mines” that ebbs and flows perfectly in the vein of Calexico. The only drawback is it leaves one wanting so much more. Nonetheless, the galloping title track soars thanks to singer Daniel Fluitt and his seasoned crew, especially with supporting vocals from Amanda Shires.
After slowing the tone down with the placating, banjo-tinged toe-tapper “7’s And 9’s”, the group hit their stride again with the dour, moody “Scary Weeds” which has Shires on lead vocals. She also has her moment in the spotlight during waltz-like and aptly titled “Lean Into The Sway.” Yet the real highlight is the tension-building “Morning Weekend” as Fluitt deftly steers his way through it effortlessly for a roots rock conclusion.
Of the dozen, the biggest letdown might be “Regardless” that brings to mind a Kings Of Leon throwaway number. The second half also seems to be a bit lighter and genteel with “Nothing” having Fluitt and Shires harmonizing just above a hush at times while “Ghost Trails” has its moments of dramatic flare.
Drenched in alt.country or Americana, Thrift Store Cowboys meld the harder with the softer on the excellent “You Can’t See The Light,” despite the content referring to the Spanish Civil War. And like any good band worth their salt, the group ends it up with a big sonic bow entitled “Silence Depends On The Dose.” Overall, this one might not be on many people’s radar, but if so will most like end up on year end lists.