Smog/Palace mucker meets (and matches) his mentors

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EZT – Goodbye Little Doll

Frankly, it’d be more startling if a Bill Callahan-produced debut by a Will Oldham collaborator, featuring Smog vocalist Sarabeth Tucek and Will’s bassist brother Paul, didn’t sound like this: literate, Papa M-droning meta-folk channelling southern rock through a treacle-and-sulphur mix of creepiness and sweet consolation.

The pleasant surprise lies instead in the sheer calibre of vocalist/guitarist Colin Gagnon’s homage: “Fingerless Children”, a redemptive “Cruxes, Cruxes” and the title track are as elliptical, haunted and affecting as Rain On Lens or Arise Therefore. As an added bonus, Gagnon’s cheeky pastiche of Natural Bridge-era Silver Jews in the sly, slouchy wit of “Central Control” is laugh-out-loud perfect. What’s not to love, in other words?