The Crooked Brothers are Matt Foster, Darwin Baker and Jesse Matas, all three being instrumentalists and songwriters. Their latest offering, ‘Thank You I’m Sorry’, opens to the slow, acoustic waltzing Dear Antonia, a song about a country boy’s visit to and what befalls him. With singer Matt Foster’s lugubrious tones, it’s fairly clear that the trio sport the influence of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen; indeed, the track closes with a la la da da reminiscent of One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong. Listening to the likes of the melancholic Blackbird In The Snow and Kennedy’s pedal-steel streaked love song to spring in Winnipeg another comparison might be Tindersticks (though Foster never gets quite as vocally doom-laden as Stuart Staples). But then you get to the down and dirty blues rock of Lightening In My Chest where his growl is more like Tom Waits or Captain Beefheart, the track in decided contrast to the Presleyesque acoustic rockabilly of Pass You By, underscoring that the trio can’t be pinned to one particular sound or style.
Indeed, set in China, Organs On Demand is a noir poem about self-immolation and harvesting body parts from a still living victim spoken over snare drum, choogling harmonica and banjo riff, while Mean Baby Mean is a rough and raw blues harp stomp. Album closer The Border is a simple fingerpicked folk number about a teenage Vietnam draft dodger heading to Canada with his girlfriend that’s calls to mind another Canadian folkie, Gordon Lightfoot, with a dash of Townes. Thank You I’m Sorry is all the richer for the diverse sound and styles they bring to the fore, both collectively and individually. Apology gratefully accepted.
Review by: Mike Davies
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