In recent years country and folk music have had a significant increase in their influence in the genres of indie rock. We have seen albums from Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, and Iron and Wine receive critical acclaim. It's not my right to question why, but it is within reason to ask. So, seriously, why the sudden fascination? Mr. Oberst has already been given the distinction of "the next Bob Dylan;" what else is there aspire to?
Oregon natives Saltlick may never achieve Rolling Stone success, but on their debut full-length, A Face Only a Mother Could Love, the band delivers eleven songs of sincere country-tinged indie rock that will likely interest fans of The Decemberists, Rocky Votolato and even R.E.M..
The opening track, "Arizona Highways," is a slow-moving piece of alt-country. Acoustic guitars and pedal steel dominant the song as guitarist/vocalist Steve Taddei's unique harmonies complete the package.
"Slow Eye" picks up the pace ever so slightly. The guitars move a little quicker and the song as a whole is arranged in a more straight-forward manner. When it all comes together I was left with a Built to Spill vibe. I definitely dig the upbeat style more than the previous track. Things revert back to the former on "Barstool," a lo-fi indie rock piece with a dash of country twang.
Eventually, things really began to blur for me. In defense of Saltlick, I never was the biggest country fan prior to listening to this album; in fact I'd probably listen to disco before country. So by the time this album hit the halfway point, my interest had dwindled.
In the end, I probably wasn't the best man for this review seeing as how I'm a lot more rock-n-roll than country. Nevertheless, I still found the majority of A Face Only a Mother Could Love to be enjoyable. I'd recommend this album to anyone that enjoys lo-fi, alt-country, or acoustic music.
5.5 / 10
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