The Americana outfit, led by Natalie Moore Houck and Ryan Houck, captures that unique Oklahoma Red Dirt sound, but in this case, the red is ominously stained crimson and the dirt is ready to be thrown on top of a coffin. This is the soundtrack of Okie-noir pulps and backwoods eulogies, left-for-dead lovers and dying dreamers.
The album openers “Widow” and especially “Love is Red” set the tone of things to come as the listener looks down and starts to see the aural blood on their hands. The speakeasy jazz of “Afternoon” is a smoking gun, but “Alas” is the upbeat, poppy bullet aimed right for the heart of those who’ve been “feeling sorry” for themselves. True crime meets true love for a truly original soundscape.
But even after you’re long dead and buried, the mystery continues as Natalie’s sultry, smoky vocals seduce the freshly deceased like a siren on the river Styx. “Cold and still is the lake tonight,” she coos on the Lee Hazlewood-esque “Bones,” and you sure as hell better believe it and be ready to follow her into the underworld.
It’s fitting that the best track on the album is “Hospital,” with the lullaby-like saunter of “tell me where it hurts” calmly delivering the listener into Death’s cold but welcoming arms. Good thing he has great taste in music. — Louis Fowler