The Be Good Tanyas
If there happened to be a rift in the spacetime continuum and somehow my Nine Inch Nails loving former self of early college years were to see me tapping my foot along with The Be Good Tanyas, I think that my former, black-hair-dyed, overly cynical self would probably want to open a can of whoopass on my current self and in the process a metaphysical can of worms. Blue Horse is one of those albums that I can't really explain away to people with a quick sentence. Sure, it sounds like something that you might hear coming from a stage on the Lilith Fair, and musically it's not the greatest, but it definitely has _something_ that sticks in your head.
This mellow release of 12 tracks falls somewhere along the lines of rootsy folk, with a touch of the blues and a rough-around-the-edges feel that gives it a great deal of charm. Comprised of three ladies from Canada and a backing group of musicians, The Be Good Tanyas have that down home feel that made the finger-picking, female led songs on the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack so good. Banjo, mandolin, double bass, violin, and three-part vocal harmonies sink a light hook and tug you on down the road with them.
Leading off with the silly swagger of probably the best song on the disc, "The Littlest Birds" the track grooves along nicely with a plucky double bass and banjo duet while some violin and twangy guitar fill out the rest of the space behind the pretty vocals. It's light and fun, and it's on tracks like it that the album moves along with an almost effortless grace. Although it doesn't have quite the same fun feel, "Lakes Of Pontchatrain" works in much the same sing-along way, again adding some excellent banjoy accompaniment and vocals.
On the opposite side of things, tracks like "Rain And Snow" somewhat bog down the album, taking on a slightly darker feel (in a relative sense, of course). It's on a couple tracks on the album like this that they veer much closer to aforementioned angsty Lilith rock, and away from their refreshing and somewhat quirky loose folk. Even at that, though, it's definitely a fun little album, and with semi-wandering influences, it's one that will also have a fairly wide appeal. Heck, your parents would probably even like it. Mine do.