The Dry Spells 

Too Soon for Flowers

While resisting easy categorization, the Dry Spells could well be slotted within the freak-folk, New Weird America, or folk-rock alcoves. There are forlorn-sounding, slightly "off" (key- and pitch-wise) female harmonies, ringing and mildly distorted (as in "trippy") guitars, keening violin, distant-sounding drums, a brooding ambiance, and melodies that could, if louder and played with more panache, be from the Decemberists' latest opus or pre-Passion Play Jethro Tull.

Too Soon for Flowers is somewhat uneasy listening, and I've the feeling Dry Spells wouldn't have it any other way. With original songs that sound as if they could have been written last month, forty years ago, or adapted from ancient British Isles or early American folk sources, Flowers is compelling in its disconsolate, goth-y otherworldliness. What, alas, brings the album down a couple of notches is the monochromatic sameness of the vocals throughout — the singing never gets beyond the shade of naive, winsome little-girl-lost. Occasionally, the Spells' haunted vocal blend evokes an American counterpart to the tiny twin Japanese girls in the movie Mothra vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. The Thing).

The set closes with a cover of Fleetwood Mac's hit "Rhiannon" — too bad they didn't follow the Mac's example and inject some oomph and dynamism into the album as a whole. (Antenna Farm)

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