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"Inside The Future" & "The Rest Is Scenery"

01-05-1999

Willard Grant Conspiracy - Mojave

Willard Grant Conspiracy

"Mojave"

It seems that France watched the Willard Grant Conspiracy's superb second album skitter by last year with an astonishing "who the hell cares?" attitude, particularly for a country that opened its heart to artists like Lambchop, Palace, Vic Chesnutt, and Sparklehorse. Only the Inrockuptibles' enthusiastic review rose above the simplistic articles that showed how little the album had been understood and that presented "Flying Low" as a Nick Cave knock-off. The work of WGC and Nick Cave of course have common elements, a resonance not so dissimilar since the protagonists must have in their collection a number of identical records and perhaps even the same literary preferences.
Close to these roots, the group's first album, "3am Sunday @ Fortune Otto's," showed the band's country/folk tendencies. "Flying Low" drifted a little away from these lands with a very tight sound and with Robert Fisher's voice deeper than ever. "Mojave" is to a certain extent the fusion of these two albums. If certain songs demand that we walk a thorny tightrope ("How To Get To Heaven," "Catnap In The Boom Boom Room," "Love Has No Meaning," "The Visitor"), others venture off toward more traditional country melodies driven rhythmically by Paul Austin's acoustic guitar, embellished by mandolin and violin, and sprinkled with the singing of Edith Frost, who oscillates between the distant and the warm ("Work Song," "I Miss You Best," "Colour Of The Sun"). Even more surprising, if one is unaware of second guitarist James Apt's unconditional love for the Stooges, is the eruption of "Go Jimmy Go," a rock'n'roll hymn that provokes its saturated guitars, heavy drumming, and howling vocals to rise up from between two of the disc's calmest tracks. Equally of note is the presence of "Archy's Lullaby" which recently shared quarters with a number from the Walkabouts' Chris & Carla on a vinyl single, released on WGC's label.
Coming back home to "Mojave" is perhaps not as easy as discovering the two preceding albums because of this lack of uniformity. But the numerous rounds of listening necessary to discover its hidden passageways and to snake through its bits and pieces are more than reimbursed by the pearls contained in this opus.

- Translation : Eric Bensel
 
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