Rope Chair Needle (n / a)
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., May 13, 2005
Rope Chair Needle
Some might mistake Austin quartet King Tears for goths: They're named after a local mortuary, and their debut takes its title from three common methods of capital punishment. Yet there's not a single murder ballad here; even "Heaven or Hell" turns out to be about a difficult relationship instead of any afterlife destination. Conveniently positioned between Moonlight Towers' fuzzy pop and Milton Mapes' grizzled Americana Towers' James Stevens recorded the album; Mapes' Greg Vanderpool did the cover art Rope's nine songs are cut from the same rustic cloth. Steady, unforced tempos, and well-placed banjo and harmonica, lend an unmistakable air of Big Pink to the proceedings. "Beg Me to Follow" invites the Grooveline horns inside for some shambling fireside Stonesery, and "Comin' Around" choogles along like John Fogerty bumping into the Faces at last call. If some songs (the title track) are a little too soft-focus at times, their unflagging amiability grants them the necessary leeway. This is music meant for relaxing on the porch, with a tall glass of lemonade or something stronger, whiling away the lazy summer hours in the shade. Indeed, Rope Chair Needle offers precious little to cry about at all.