Simmering sophomore outing from New York alt.country trio
Having taken their name from the Lone Star outpost nestled between Laredo and Corpus Christi (“a mysterious place haunted by a sombre and bloody past,” figured singer-songwriter Alice Schneider), the band’s earliest incarnation featured ex-Go-Between Robert Vickers and the Bad Seeds’ Jim Sclavunos. Since 2001’s Gold, both have moved on, but the scaffolding remains fixed on an unforgiving landscape haunted by dust devils and black vultures. Schneider’s delivery and attitude is part-PJ Harvey, part-Patti Smith with hayseeds, while the music is all slide guitar, reverbed Gretsch and moody strings. When she’s not straining too hard?as on the Townes Van Zandt-like title track?the voice is at its most affecting.