Lo Fine | Not for Us Two (Pigeon)

cd_lo-fine.jpgThe strong melodies here, the pleasantly grounded singing and the sweet pedal steel work combine to make this a well-above-average platter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure how many more folksy alt-country groups with plaintive vocalists we truly need, but I’ll go ahead and make room on the preferred playlist for Massachusetts-based Lo Fine, and their modestly enjoyable Not for Us Two. The strong melodies here, the pleasantly grounded singing of songwriter/bandleader Kevin O’Rourke and the sweet pedal steel work of Bruce Tull combine to make this a well-above-average platter. Tull’s playing especially shines on "Runaway Lullabye" and "New Excuses," which are among the genuinely soothing tunes here if you’re in low-key mode.

As for O’Rourke, his casually emotive voice does justice to a good solid melody like that of "Cemetery Road," or the sleepy melancholia of the aforementioned "Excuses." On "Words Like We," O’Rourke has a tone that evokes Michael Stipe, say if Stipe had gone solo and shifted his style folksier. And the harmonies and pleasant chord progression on the title track keep your ears tuned in. Depending on your taste, there may be too many slow/mid-tempo tracks here—and Not for Us Two certainly doesn’t break much new ground. But as a backporch album for the early days of spring and cleaning off that ol’ barbecue grill, Lo Fine’s latest is a lo-fi, unpretentious little charmer. B | Kevin Renick

RIYL: Centromatic, Mojave 3, The Court and Spark

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