Starvations 

Get Well Soon

Much of Get Well Soon hangs like your head over a drink the night of your big breakup. Melancholy -- rare in this sort of earthy guitar-slinging -- ripples like the ice in that drink. Starvations frontman Gabriel Hart's voice cracks as he discusses sins and graveyards over doomed roots-wrangling. Accordions, violins, and ragged rockabilly rhythms heave throughout, all culminating in the most beautiful "rock" song this year, "Recipe for a Mess," where Hart desperately whispers "I'd do anything for you, and I do mean ... anything," just as the chorus swells up and the tears fall on thin ice.

Given ten more years and a few more lying lovers, this might get filed under alt.country. But not yet, not while a Pogues punk sensibility still prods the band out of the pathos consuming it. Noises like pig grunts invade "Recipe," which leads into a sea shanty ("Oh Deputy!"), gang a cappella vocal and all. And later, there's "Not Me This Time," a cranky Tom Waits-like squawking blues. But by the last tune, Get Well Soon sighs like the first time you notice the scars on your new naked lover, and you know this ain't gonna be easy.

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