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Richard Buckner

Our Blood (Merge)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

Phases & Stages

Richard Buckner

Our Blood (Merge)

The rut Richard Buckner has dug himself is exquisite. Our Blood, the innovative singer-songwriter and former local's first disc in five years, develops a sound sculpted around heavily strummed guitar and old keyboards, adding odd percussion by Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and atmospheric pedal steel from Buddy Cage of the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Sung with a hint of resignation and/or repressed fury, songs like organ-grinder "Thief" and the sun-streaked yet foreboding "Hindsight" update Buckner's gnarly catalog, all dense poetry, winding melodies, and a dapple of bemused hopelessness. Like his best compositions, even the instrumental "Ponder" holds enough mystery either as the soundtrack to a sweltering desert or a horrific late-night interlude. From almost shiny opener "Traitor" to a Southwestern twang closing "Gang," Buckner has composed an album that grows more emotionally astonishing with each play, and, at 36 minutes, one that's entirely too brief. (Richard Buckner returns to the Cactus Cafe Sunday, Oct. 2.)

***.5

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