Twilight Hotel: When The Wolves Go Blind - Album of the Month - April 2011

~ Friday, 1 April 2011
Twilight Hotel make an intriguing sound. Described by some as 'Americana Noir', their sound is expansive and uncluttered while guitars twang and accordions dance like a Zydeco band at a Mexican funeral. When The Wolves Go Blind is an album that will probably divide musical opinion. There will be those that think this is a work of wayward genius, and I'm in that camp, while there will be those who see it as a soundtrack waiting for a movie. There is definitely something David Lynchesque about this album.

The music is quirky, perhaps it is Brandy Zdan's sultry voice or Dave Quanbury's twanging guitar, but it is also cleverly arranged and skillfully played. Those who loved their debut album Highway Prayer will not be disappointed with this latest effort. The title track kicks things off with repetitive and hypnotic percussion overlaid with wistful accordion, mysterious organ and a hushed dual vocal for a song so laid back it needs a pair of slippers and a smoking jacket. Quanbury takes on lead vocal duties on the sublime
Mahogany Veneer, a meandering narrative that tracks the duo's musical travels. This is a song of real character and definitely one of the best songs I have heard in a long time. On The Master you feel that Quentin Tarantino would just have to write a movie to have this song on its soundtrack. It would have to be a modern day Spaghetti Western with Johnny Depp playing a Lee Van Cleef character out to avenge the death of his secret lover. It is just that type of song.

One of the most beautiful moments on the album comes in the shape of Frozen Town which congers up images of desolate winters and isolation. Zdan's voice is particularly fine here and brings a warmth to the proceedings. The Darkness squeezes it as the outstanding track of the twelve wonderful songs on this album. There is something rather soothing about the sparseness of this song while the interjection of various instruments ranging from trumpet, banjo and guitar act as features on the barren landscape. The tempo is lifted (only slightly) on the rockier sounding Golden Eagle with some fine slide guitar licks and robust drumming before normal service is resumed with Poor & Hungry and When I'm Gone.

This is an exceptionally good album that delivers from start to finish. If you want music that is soothing, intriguing, challenging and charismatic then look no further.

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