The musings of lapsed Christians are far more prevalent in rock 'n' roll than those of unreconstructed believers, but those in the latter category -- from Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis straight through to, say, Sunny Day Real Estate and the Danielson Family -- often conjure the most compelling mix of soul and sweat. That's certainly true of 16 Horsepower, the dark and ruminative, yet ultimately redemptive, brainchild of David Eugene Edwards. Over the course of the band's wending career, Edwards has never been afraid to tarry on the darker side, earning comparisons to Nick Cave, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and Ian Curtis. Such touchstones are in evidence on Folklore, but Edwards lists more towards earlier traditionalists here, bringing a white-knuckled desperation to Hank Williams's "Alone and Forsaken" and a surprisingly sunny tone to the Carter Family's "Single Girl." His reliance on subtle banjo and violin shadings here is markedly different than the torrential hail of apocalyptic guitar that marked some of the band's earlier, more rock-minded outings. That doesn't, however, sap any of the feverish qualities of songs like "Hutterite Mile," a brooding bit of Appalachiana that registers as darker-than-dark on the prism, with the faintest of stars shining above to illuminate its outline. It makes for a rending, but cathartic, experience.
|Label:||Jet Set Records|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is by far THE BEST album I have heard in YEARS! If you love the depth, sorrow, and sadness of roots music (think of Emmylou Harris', Johnny Cash's darkest recordings) then you will adore this record. I came across 16 Horsepower by accident, and I can honestly say that I am hooked! This album suits my sad, depressing, haunting, dark music tastes (come on now, we all know that deep, haunting music touches the soul like nothing else on the planet) to a "t"!