The Inner Banks | Songs From Disko Bay (DAG! Records)

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These songs are like a small town in a Flannery O’Connor story—just a little ole’ town populated by plain folks, but with some gothic secrets and unrelenting peculiarities.

 

 

The new album Songs From Disko Bay, by The Inner Banks, has been in my CD player for about two weeks straight, and I’m still not tempted to switch it out. It goes so well with late summer turning into autumn. The album’s sound, at first, reminds me quite a bit of late ‘60s movie soundtracks. It also calls to mind a bit of Glen Campbell, English folk music of the Pentangle and Fotheringay type and lushly orchestrated American folk rock —not far from Left Banke and Zombies territory. So far, so good.

 

However, upon closer listening one begins to hear a subtle mutation announcing itself: strange note choices, Floydian electronic echoes, warped LP portamento and tape bending. Yet, it is all done so tastefully that it sounds utterly natural and unforced. The Inner Banks, it seems, have created their own custom genre out of cast-off elements, curiosities and brilliant, thoughtful musicianship.

 

Then there’s that voice: the lovely but deceptively simple delivery of Caroline Schultz. It’s simple and pretty, like the first minute of a David Lynch film. She deadpans lyrics like, ‘Pyramids of cities buried under a bridge/Ten-thousand armies circle all around it,’ and ‘Tournament of wives she calls it... home,’ with all the open-faced honesty of Skeeter Davis. These songs are like a small town in a Flannery O’Connor story—just a little ole’ town populated by plain folks, but with some gothic secrets and unrelenting peculiarities.

 

The opener, “Lemon Tree,” begins with a quietly bent ambient string section that creates a halo behind the first lyrics. The song then takes off on 12-string jangle-pop as she sings, ‘You’ll rise like a lemon tree/That’s how you’ll get found/That’s how you’ll get free.’ The Inner Banks team of Carolyn Schultz and David Gould are not attempting to explain the mystery; they deepen and adorn it. Mr. Lynch? If you are making a new film any time soon, I highly recommend you listen to these guys. A | Ted Moniak

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