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The Hickories | Lost In Pennsylvania (
I can't really remember what brought me to it, but sometimes you just buy a record. Anyway, having acquired it I thought I'd share. There's only five tracks, all written by the band and firmly entrenched in the alt. country genre. The closest point of reference would be Hazeldine, with its dual female vocal attack. The opener, Killers, wafts in before kicking off with a noisy guitar to break up the sweet vocals, and then Drown swans around with a gentle sway. The title track starts to show the qualities of the band, having a slightly edgier feel despite being very well behaved. Michelle Volpe's lead vocal has a slight quiver in the sweetness as well as a touch of darkness. 1965 clatters and rattles and Volpe blows out the words as if at altitude until she suddenly hits the chorus to make the song fly; Meghan Sharp adding a doo-wop style backing to give the song a feel of the year. The last track could equally come from another time: Heather Lane is a simple but effective song that would wow a crowd at a gig and have them bellowing for more. It's hard to get a grip after five songs, but it's an impressive enough debut that should help them reach a further audience.

Laurence Arnold
April 2006