This Toronto trio’s third release slides seamlessly from laid back, jazzy floaters like opener, “Come Back To The Willow” to countrified hick-core experiments like “No Twig,” which sounds like Joan of Arc gate crashing a Souled American rehearsal. Fucked-up, tuneless vocals, glistening, twangy guitars, and a general malaise seeps through the recordings, which are adept at recreating that Captain Beefheartian vibe of making intricately arranged songs sound like they’re being made up on the spot. Not everything works – the title cut’s rambling story and strangulated vocals induce more goose pimples than sympathy and the neo-Neil Young-isms of “Sunlit Cloud” had me reaching for Uncle Dave Bacon’s bastardization of “Roll Another Number for The Road” off Marijuana’s Greatest Hits Revisited.
Still, there is a guilty charm to the wild-eyed innocence of sleepy, backwoods fare like “Two Eyes” that will surely appeal to fans of the Mountain Goats, Songs: Ohia, Smog, and any of Will Oldham’s numerous permutations. “Taking A Walk” kicks up the boot heels (and perceived inebriation) a few notches and boasts a gurgling synth solo straight out of a Pacman/Space Invaders video game that has no right working as well as it does. While “Cocoon”’s intimacy might recall Leonard Cohen fronting King Crimson and the equally somnambulistic “Beautiful Shell” sounds like something Low left burning on the stove, the naïve experimentalism that shields a pop sensibility dying to break out of tracks like “Twilight In The Morning” (a song this bad HAS to sound that way intentionally!) compares favorably with equally bizarre shitstorms from the likes of The Residents, label mates, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Cerberus Shoal or the more eclectic lunatics over at the Elephant 6 Company (cf. Olivia Tremor Control, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Music Tapes). So, are these dozen dyslexic lullabies terroristic acts of room-clearing lunacy or simply fractured fairy tales for tone-deaf, discerning adults? Why not gather round the camp fire, roast a few marshmallows, and try it out on your friends and let them help you decide. Just don’t forget the moonshine! 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (12 February, 2009)