Though Joe Chang (Gold Light) and Beau Campolong (Snakemusk) have a history of playing separately in the punk and noise scenes, together they are firmly rooted in rural country and folk sounds on this debut together, where traces of Springsteen’s early work and even the 50s sounds of Buddy Holly are present.
“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” leads with strong harmonica and a classic country angle as Snakemusk’s vocals glide in with an oldies feeling before the pace picks up on the shuffling alt-country-meets-doo-wop of “The Last Picture Show.” Elsewhere, the sparse duet “Nobody’s Baby” is quite comfortable in folk territory, while the warm keys of “Papa Knows Best” lead into a more forcefully strummed country rocker.
The back half of the listen is just as interesting, with the high and lonesome “One Thing After Another,” and the sweet and powerful ballad “Heart Of Black,” where Snakemusk’s tender-yet-gritty vocals shine amid tambourines and soft guitar work. The album exits on “Death,” a cautious and rootsy excursion where the pair draw similarities to the timeless spirit of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
While each tune here is well-thought-out, sincere, and full of strong songwriting prowess, it’s the chemistry between the two voices that really illuminates the quality of tunes and easily sets it apart from the legions of other Americana outfits that exist today.