The Wingdale Community Singers The Wingdale Community Singers

[Plain; 2005]

Styles: urban americana, alt-country, experimental rock
Others: Mendoza Line, Gastr del Sol, The Jayhawks, Will Oldham

The prolific David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol, Red Krayola, etc.), songwriter Hannah Marcus, and novelist/musician Rick Moody join forces in the Wingdale Community Singers. Like fellow Brooklynites Mendoza Line, their self-titled debut is filled with Americana music complemented by lyrics of an urban bent. "Dog in Winter" is an appealing ballad, featuring harmony vocals haloed by a plaintive fiddle. "Blue Daisy" is a more overtly countrified mid tempo song, with ambling "boom-chuck" acoustic guitar and a soaring vocal chorus (angelically sung by Marcus). Piano ballad "Holy Virgin Star" incorporates spoken-word recitation, dulcet vocal harmonies, and stirring chord changes. On "Bike Shop Boy," the group effectively juxtaposes an unlikely combination of music and lyrics -- rambling folk blended with the portrait of an itinerant bicycle repairman. There are even a couple of hootenanny numbers on the record: the irrepressible "Fishnet Stockings" and a jocular "Rat on the Tracks. While the alt-country fare is stirring stuff, Wingdale rock out with equal fervor. "Sugar and Salt" is a dynamite rocker; Marcus nails another strong vocal, buoyed by jangling electric guitars. "Wingdale Asylum Seekers" is a ruminative but affecting brief guitar instrumental. The album is strong throughout, but Wingdale Community Singers is particularly affecting at its most stripped down. On songs like "Pawn Shop Fire" and "Bitter Angels," the group gathers around an acoustic guitar or piano, singing their hearts out in sweet harmony. Chances are, you'll soon be singing along.

1. Dog in Winter
2. Blue Daisy
3. Bike Shop Boy
4. Bigger Ocean
5. Fishnet Stockings
6. Sugar and Salt
7. Holy Virgin Star
8. Give it a Kiss
9. Rat on the Tracks
10. Pawn Shop Fire
11. Bitter Angels
12. Dirty Little Dog
13. Family Plot, Mayfield, Kentucky
14. Wingdale Asylum Seeker
15. Indira's Lost and Found

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