Comes with a Smile # webexclusives
news | current issue | back issues | the songs | interviews | reviews
images | web exclusives | top 10 | history | search
search

April 2006 / October 2005 / February-April 2005 / November-December 2004 / July 2004 / March-April 2004 / November-December 2003 / June-July 2003 / March-April 2003 / January-February 2003 / December 2002 / November 2002 / August 2002 / May-June 2002 / November 2001 / October 2001 / June-July 2001 / all web exclusives / search

Tombstone Trailerpark | Ghost Of Painless Grace (Independent)
With a name that skirts the edges of pastiche, Tombstone Trailerpark initially seem another four-to-the-floor alt.country proposition. Hailing from Nashville, GOPG starts of well with the assured, rolling Americana of Patron Saint of the Androgynous. Singer, Tim Buchanan has an easy, pleasing slurred voice something like a cross between Jeff Tweedy and Bruce Springsteen. Spitting out verses with all the verve of early Bruce, backed sympathetically, you're immediately drawn into the story being narrated. It's a good start. Unfortunately the second song (I Give Up) sounds exactly the same and the title becomes slightly too descriptive. My Sweet Jennifer however, picks things up and has a nice acoustic sound and long, rolling stanzas with the feel of Dylan - a touching, affecting love song in a time when there are few of these around. When The Dew Lays Heavy On Our Heads is one of those songs that sounds like it has 25 verses to it and here's the problem, while I'm all for people writing more and more lyrics, sometimes you can say what you need to in three or four verses and a lot of the lyrics on this album don't really say much and end up detracting from songs that could have been much better had they been tighter. This album is 68 minutes long, which is far too long for most bands and it shows here. The middle of the album drags with a handful of by-the-numbers alt.country songs with bland lyrics and identikit backing. Watchin' The Wind is one of the few songs to break from the musically unadventurous backing as the narrator witnesses the Crucifixion amidst an eerie soundscape. The spoken-word Dusk Smokes Wise is also a welcome relief with its weird far-Eastern percussion. More of this would have certainly benefited the album. Otherwise we're back to the bar for the next few songs until the lo-fi strains of the title track ends things on an up note, an evocative, haunting piece. So, judicious use of the program button will whittle this into a much better 35 minute album than it is at double that length and yet you still feel the band needs more focus, both lyrically and musically - perhaps an outside producer for the next one, boys?

Stav Sherez
August 2002

back