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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Quiet Bears
Oh, The Falling of a Farmer (CD-R)

The band Quiet Bears does live up to its name in the end, being a mostly melancholy walk through austere, midwest-informed folk pastures. You can just imagine a bit ol' bear shambling along to the tunes sometimes. But the effect of the CD is anything but silent. Johnnie Cluney forms the nucleus (and only current member) of the Quiet Bears and Oh, The Falling of a Farmer is his current release on Asaurus. The tempo of the songs is often very mellow and the melodies quite poignant. That intimate and sometimes sad atmosphere may be a result of the album being inspired by a friend of Cluney's who passed away. They say a lot of great heartfelt albums come out of painful loss, so maybe that's true here too.

The songs aren't revelatory in their structure or composition but they are no less enjoyable. On the slower songs, like "Tie Our Hair To The Roots" and "And The Trees Swept the Sky" Cluney's voice reminds me of Bill Callahan or maybe Richard Buckner, and even a bit of Canadian folkie Hayden. A few songs, like "Dim Light and Tree Snakes" and "We Walk Where Weather Burns", get a bit more uptempo with instruments like a washboard and shaker. "Warm Your Bones" even experiments a bit with odd noises and feedback a la Wilco. One of my favorites was "Some Spiders" with it's graceful chords and slow slide guitar. I like how the album ends with a version of the opening track "Oh, The Falling of a Farmer"; it forms two musical bookends to some really nice sounding folk tunes. A great album to listen to on a lazy Fall day...

- review by RABBIT (11.17.04)        

Asaurus Records
PO Box 0664
Allen Park, MI 48101-0664

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