Americana

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Polly Coufos

Be­fore Dark­ness Comes a-Callin’ The Weep­ing Wil­lows In­de­pen­dent With Be­fore Dark­ness Comes a-Callin’ Mel­bourne duo the Weep­ing Wil­lows of­fers a con­sis­tently chilling vi­sion of a world gone to hell, where peo­ple are mak­ing poor choices and fac­ing the prospect of hav­ing eter­nity to pay for them.

The op­pres­sive weight and con­se­quences of liv­ing and lov­ing are laid bare with a sur­geon’s pre­ci­sion in 10 songs filled with power and beauty. They sound like they could have been writ­ten any­time in the past cen­tury.

Recorded in Los An­ge­les by pro­ducer Ryan Free­land, with over­dubs added in Nashville, Floresville, Texas, and On­tario, there is wellplaced con­fi­dence in the ma­te­rial, with never more on of­fer than is re­quired mu­si­cally or lyri­cally. Laura Coates’s voice has an at­ten­tion­grab­bing power while Andy Wrig­glesworth’s con­tri­bu­tions are more in­ti­mate, as ev­ery song builds on the blend of their rock steady singing and his gui­tar play­ing.

David Piltch’s up­right bass adds a heart­beat and back­bone while sym­pa­thetic touches from guests on steel (Tommy De­ta­more), banjo (Kevin Breit), fid­dle and man­dolin (Luke Moller) add a pol­ish that never de­tracts from the dirty busi­ness at the heart of the duo’s ma­te­rial.

The scant de­tail in mur­der bal­lads For­ever in My Dreams and Gar­den of Tears adds a touch of mys­tery. River of Gold is a love song of sorts but one where the singer says in chilling fash­ion, “I’ll take the fall and sell my soul to you”. Trav­el­ling Man (co-writ­ten by Lach­lan Bryan) of­fers a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween a cou­ple where one is driven to fol­low his dream no mat­ter the con­se­quences. The ad­di­tion of De­ta­more’s haunt­ing steel makes it the most com­pelling track.

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