Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
The group Nonesuch's debut album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, offers an elegant sort of Americana. Its songs about long-ago travels and romantic travails, eternal longing and inevitable leaving are often hushed, dreamy and mysterious. Simple folk-song structures are uplifted by hymn-like, chamber music arrangements. The three young multi-instrumentalists Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky and Jocie Adams recorded the album in the most remote place they could find near their Providence, Rhode Island, home: 'In the ghostly stillness of a Block Island winter,' as they put it. The intimacy of the makeshift studio they created in their chilly off-season environs is palpable; Paste declared, 'The Low Anthem's harmonica-and-string-flavored ballads are as haunting as they are gorgeous. This group of Providence up-and-comers knows how to break your heart and make you smile at the same time.' Not everything is understated, though: on 'The Horizon Is A Beltway,' they raise an exuberant acoustic clatter that recalls Bruce Springsteen's work with his Seeger Sessions Band. They also cover Tom Waits' 'Home I'll Never Be,' a raucous adaptation of a Jack Kerouac poem.