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The Myrtles | Nowhere To Be Found (C Student)
Taking their name from that of a supposedly haunted local plantation, The Myrtles hail from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  'Nowhere To Be Found' is the bands' debut.
Front man and songwriter, Gabe Daigle found himself a major label casualty, following an unsuccessful tenure at MCA that resulted in his previous band, Becky Sharp, splitting up.  Enlisting a number of friends and previous collaborators for a crack at something more country-oriented, The Myrtles is the result.  I have a suspicion that the band are much more of an enticing prospect live than their debut album suggests, not that it's without merit.  The accompanying literature hints that the album was recorded in the band's relative infancy and it does sound like the band beginning to gel rather than having already done so.  Talice Lee's hypnotic violin, an almost constant presence, provides a textural sonic thread around which most of the rest of the band's sound is interwoven.  Occasionally unsettling, the almost gothic undercurrent she provides is perhaps the band's distinctive trait. Early '90s indie stalwarts, The Dambuilders, utilised violinist Joan Wasser to similarly distinctive effect.   Another touchstone would be early Eleventh Dream Day, who before they went in a more post-rock direction, often displayed a rootsy undercurrent amidst their simmering guitar pyrotechnics.  So it's an appealing mix, yet one that still requires some further development.  It all simmers briskly enough throughout but only comes to the boil on a few occasions.  Opener Devil In A Bottle is a fairly rousing and confident opener, and then After The Show provides an intoxication follow-up, Lee's violin and the guitars providing and enticing and interesting mix.  And later, on Every Day one of only two co-writes on the album, everything gels again.   Elsewhere, whilst the band's collective sound is an interesting one, many of the songs are relatively indistinct from one another ?? more glowing embers than raging inferno, although you suspect live the songs could easily gain in intensity.  
With 'Nowhere to Be Found', The Myrtles may well have sown the seeds of something potentially more fruitful next time out.  There's enough promise here to indicate that The Myrtles are worth filing under ones to watch.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003

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