Isadora's Scarf Recording Group
Wingate, North Carolina was the birthplace of this five piece band centered on the songwriting of first cousins John Crooke (lead vocals and guitar) and Dave Burris (lead guitar and vocals). With their two previous albums, including one on the Sire label, the band won favorable comparisons to the Gene Clark-era Byrds, Neil Young, and Tom Petty. Now back on an indie, Jolene on Antic Ocean has produced an album of pleasant but fairly dull folk-pop.
The dulcimer-enhanced "Calling Madeline" gets things started on a promising note. The band showcases accomplished musicianship and nice harmonies on tracks like "Stadium Face." "Constantinople" has a pretty acoustic guitar figure. "Even Tempered" is one of the better up-tempo pop songs here. And "Hello My Lover" has a chorus that almost gets above a dull roar before settling back into boring verses backed by some irritating mellotron noodling. But the lackluster performance, production and arrangement on tracks like "Make Love to Me Keep Sleeping" are positively nap inducing.
"Find It Lovely" has a more rustic folk sound and an REM-like melody. Ashen Keilyn's nice background vocals on "Too Late Mr. Squiggly" nearly rescue that song. The highlight here though may be the band's cover of the Sandy Denny song "John the Gun." Continental Drifters Peter Holsapple, Vicki Peterson, and Susan Cowsill guest on the track.