STRANGE REBEL FREQUENCY: Through Dust & Ash to the Falling of the West: CD

This Americana quartet out of L.A. drops their second full length with baritone vocals mimicking NickCave’s later mellowed-out sound. These eighteen new tracks opens with crooners, “Face in the Crowd” and “Xs for Eyes,” while male and female vocal harmonization in “Careless Heart” lend another layer to a somewhat flavorless cake. Unfortunately, SRF checks off all the components of Southern Gothic (deep, male whispery vocals, sparse, jangly soundscapes, and songs of lost and disaffected girls) but fails to add another shade to the beleaguering landscape. The majority of these songs have the same structure and similar melody, some repeating chorus and verse well past what is necessary. “DVB” edges into six minutes long, breaking from the monotony of tortured ballads bringing a screeching guitar like early Bauhaus, while “War Machine” might just get people on their feet. Hopefully, SRF will tighten up their game and trim the fat on the next go round.

 –Kristen K. (Self-released)