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The Lowest Pair - Uncertainty As It Is Uneven/Fern Girl and Ice Man (Team Love Records)
One of the most distinctive vocal collaborations in recent years came courtesy of Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer on their CHILD BALLADS album and tour. There's something similar going on here with the latest couple of releases by Kendle Winter and Palmer T Lee, otherwise known as the Lowest Pair, so similar in fact that at times you feel the two duos are one and the same. On this occasion the Olympia, Washington-based duo have released two albums simultaneously, almost as a double album but separated as fine companion pieces. The banjo-wielding duo traverse the moody backwoods of America with a bunch of memorable and atmospheric earthy songs, at times with a nod towards such contemporaries as Ryan Adams for instance on Strangers. If the songs on UNCERTAIN AS IT IS UNEVEN have a tendency to be light and breezy, those on the second disc FERN GIRL AND ICE MAN demonstrate a more pensive, thoughtful mood with such songs as the sombre Tagged Ear and the curious Totes, each delivered with something of a beguiling air. If the mood is at times imbued with a quiet melancholy nature, then there are moments when the duo demonstrate an urgency to deliver, on such songs as Sweet Breath and Mason's Trowel, both of which highlight the duo's chops as first rate pickers.