Knife in the Water, Star Parks, RF Shannon, Julia Lucille
Cheer Up Charlies, Jan. 3
Reviewed by Rachel Rascoe, Fri., Jan. 12, 2018
Amid the laundry list bills of Free Week's scatterbrained showcases, last Wednesday at Cheer Up Charlies delivered resonate indie-folk penned for Lockhart enclaves and West Texas plains, all untouched by Austin's impatient bustle.
Julia Lucille's intimate gentility on last year's third LP Chthonic bloomed into grounded, mystifying noir. Here, that material hovered between serenity and unsettlement, her voice finding breathing room in band dropouts. Finding common ground on the songs' weighted middles, the quartet gave bite and breakdowns to Lucille's foreboding bedroom captures.
RF Shannon delivered palatable twang in cowboy boots via sprawling, ambient, country bliss. A walking pace put Shane Renfro's deep whispers on equal footing with the group's spacey, psych-hued instrumentation. Plus, their pedal steel sustained for reassembled Nineties act Knife in the Water, which churned Galaxie 500-like slowcore into organic mantras. Founder Aaron Blount granted each soft phrase deliberate landing space, emphasized in sighing echo by local songwriter Jana Horn.
A bright burst of Star Parks reinvigorated the late weeknight, trumpet and slide trombone teasing the flower power romanticism of 2016 debut Don't Dwell. Singer Andy Bianculli charmed with quick-witted blues guitar and a big take on George Harrison's "Let It Down." At their exit, four acts had reconstructed Texas' rock and folk tradition in novel but familiar form.