This sprawling 21-track album is the work of the Birmingham, Alabama-based duo of Brad Armstrong and Buzz Russell, recorded with the help of twenty guest musicians. The tunes flow along like a dark folk-rock river, almost silent as it whispers over a bed of mossy pebbles, and aggressively noisy as it waterfalls over a jagged precipice. The tunes deal with death, loss, and the mysterious processes of life, each cryptic little message sounding like a note written while dancing along the edge of a cliff, pretending that the abyss isn't inches away. Not everything hits the mark, but making up for the near misses are tracks like "Wormhead, My Dear," a snarling fuzz-guitar dirge that morphs into a demented drum solo; "Toby Damnit, Part Two," a bright, poppy ode to drinking and driving; and the unsettling "The Trouble with Actual Organs," a quavering meditation on emotions about to go out of control.

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J. Poet