Second album of dark Americana from Illinois trio

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The Beauty Shop – Crisis Helpline

“What if every dream I have ends in bitter sorrow?” John Hoeffleur sings in a sepulchral baritone that leaves little doubt that the real truth is already far worse. Building on the same world-weary alt.country template as The Beauty Shop’s impressive debut, Yr Money Or Yr Life, a cast of fatally flawed souls drowning in disappointment and terminal ennui glide their fucked-up way through Crisis Helpline’s 10 songs. The bleakness is only tempered by the eerie folk-punk surrealism of tracks such as “Babyshaker”and “Rumplestiltskin Lives”. Fans of Johnny Dowd and the Violent Femmes will find much to please them here.