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Al Scorch and the Country Soul Ensemble - Tired Ghostly Town (Self Release)

Star rating: 
3

The opening song on TIRED GHOSTLY TOWN is a punk-influenced assault, albeit with hillbilly instrumentation; never did the banjo seem so utterly aggressive. The Chicago-based Al Scorch and the Country Soul Ensemble take elements of country, bluegrass and folk and present ten songs with a punk-ish attitude, each with an uncompromising in-your-face sonic sneer. Recorded in a farmhouse in Georgia, the songs maintain a sense of immediacy throughout, with the musicians keeping the energy levels pretty much alive from one song to another. 

The core line-up includes Al Scorch on vocals, banjo and Guitar, Charlie Malave on bass, Cris Castellan on percussion and Felipe Tobar on fiddle, with a handful of guest musicians helping out. It’s not full on assault from start to finish, with one or two brief tender moments, including Two Flags - which having said that, still has a bit of a yell in the middle - as well as the title song, a lament to a small town industrial disaster, the atmosphere successfully captured on the sleeve artwork, courtesy of the quaintly named Damarak the Destroyer.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky