The Red Thread 

Ship in the Attic, Birds in the Subway

After the Bay Area band Half Film went kaput in '99, mastermind Jason Lakis made the home-recording recluse scene until the trio concept of Red Thread jelled. This album is the result of his synthesizing (and, more importantly, personalizing) several styles and influences deftly. The terse melancholia of Heavenly and early Orange Juice, the parched yearning of Neil Young in his country-leaning, Harvest mode, and even the dexterous, classic acoustic Americana of John Fahey are all part of Red Thread's approach, but fortunately no one aspect dominates. The tense, restrained guitar-sustain of "Wax Museum" evokes fog coming off the bay, and "Kindling Forts" does goth-country with as much ache and élan as American Music Club at its best. The main downside to this otherwise very good set is the uniformity of the comforting, gauzy vocal harmonies -- taken all in one sitting, they sound kinda samey and a tad listless. Next time: less gloom, a touch more zoom.

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