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Freakwater's previous effort, Springtime, no more celebrates the blossoming of anything (well, maybe dread) than the songs on End Time suggest closure. In its textures and languorous pace, End Time summons the burnished, comfortable feel of Indian summer, but the lyrics betray a worldview in which a red-hot holocaust is nigh, especially in the area of personal relationships. The harmonized singing of Catherine Ann Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean (who also wrote all the songs on the album, a first for them) is as haunting and doom-laden as ever. Steve Goulding (ex-Mekons) on drums and Son Volt alum Eric Haywood on guitar and pedal steel give sensitive instrumental support. While there's plenty of gothic darkness to go around here, Bean and Irwin's skewed sense of humor surfaces too, especially on "Cheap Watch" (which declares absinthe a blues-chasing tonic) and "Queen Bee," an ode to the joys of promiscuity. Freakwater's world is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is the real one. It's hard to separate the two, hence the enduring appeal of this startling music, so well-crafted, so close to the bone, so beautiful.
Performance CreditsFreakwater Primary Artist
Janet Beveridge Bean Guitar,Vocals
Steve Goulding Drums
Jeff Jacobs Organ,Hammond Organ
Fred Lonberg-Holm Cello
Eric Heywood Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar
John Spiegel Dobro,Mandolin
Kent Kessler Bowed Bass
Catherine Irwin Guitar,Vocals
David Wayne Gay Upright Bass
Joel Batty Fiddle,Violin
Technical CreditsFred Lonberg-Holm String Arrangements
Ernie Cruz Composer
Brendan Burke Producer,Engineer