Not new to any scene; in fact, been missing in action for over a decade, Freakwater return with their new album, Scheherazade. A crushing, 12-track collection, this album sees and hears the off-kilter harmonies of Janet Bean and Catherin Irwin, who have been doing this since 1989. Although they eschew any kind of classifications (rightfully so), their country-fied flavor/twang/vibe immediately send chills right up the spine of the fortunate listener as those voices blend beautifully and the music (sometimes deliberately understated) carries you away.
“The Asp and the Albatross” is one such track, filled with a wrenching that you just can’t put your finger on; “What The People Want” starts off in such a deliciously sinister way; dark and swampy and then the vocals – always that little bit disjointed – wrap you up tightly and makes you feel it and “Take Me With You” just makes you ache from those voices and that gentle acoustic guitar. The only word that applies is exquisite.
“Velveteen Matador” sounds like it walked right out of 1968 Nashville; that echo-y, guitar groove and use of 7th chords is perfect and pure; “Falls Of Sleep” is another forbidding, mysterious-feeling piece (“…deliver us mercy ’til dawn…”) and “Number One With A Bullet” sounds like it could easily ride high on the country charts – as instantly classic and soulful as one could ask for.
Easily, this is one album that isn’t exactly coming off my CD player for a while. These songs have that kind of immediate impact that tells you you’ll be listening to this on repeat for (at least) several days to come. So let’s simply open our arms and embrace Freakwater for coming back with a gorgeous collection of songs.
Scheherazade is available now
Current tour dates:
Fri Mar 11, 2016 – Asheville, NC Grey Eagle
Sat Mar 12, 2016 – Decatur, GA Eddie’s Attic
Sun Mar 13, 2016 – Nashville, TN The Basement
Mon Mar 14, 2016 – St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
Tue Mar 15, 2016 – Iowa City, IA The Mill
Wed Mar 16, 2016 – Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
Fri Mar 18, 2016 – Chicago, IL Hideout