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Muzzlewhite | s/t (Big Dipper)
Disarmingly unpretentious roots-y rock from Muzzlewhite on their second full-length album yet. If perhaps a tad too self-effacing for its own good, this five-piece should still win over most non-believers willing to give them half a chance. The songwriting is lush and casual, the performances unassuming and shuffling, and Muzzlewhite bear more than a little resemblance to someone like Madrugada with some dubious Chris Rea references and creepy Lynchian moods added to the mix. First single My Hero, featuring guest vocalist Karen Jo Fields, is an absolute highlight, a beautiful slab of late-night, smoky country-blues, while This Safe Place opens like some long-lost Shadows gem before suddenly shifting gear and winds up as one of the finest moments one here. "When you say you don't want to die/I think it's half convention and half lie", they offers and it's probably a good thing that they're promising to lighten up a bit on their next one, due early next year.

Stein Haukland
November 2002