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The Dry Spells 

Too Soon for Flowers (Antenna Farm)

Wednesday, Jul 29 2009
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The loving attention with which the Dry Spells reconfigure traditional folk tunes is something to behold. The San Francisco group doesn't simply ape what has come before. Rather, Too Soon for Flowers casts cross-generational relics in lively new light. Most obviously, "Black Is the Color" takes a page from the enduring ballad "Black Is the Colour (of My True Love's Hair)." The Dry Spells' bewitching debut album caps with a cover of a more recent favorite, though: Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon." Diego Gonzalez' wobbly bass and Adria Otte's bristling guitar underscore this version with a sense of dread, while fellow onetime Citay members Tahlia Harbour and April Hayley contribute trancelike singing that is as indebted to Fairport Convention as it is to Stevie Nicks. The rest of the songs are originals, and the Dry Spells — also including, at times, Warren Huegel, Ezra Feinberg, and Caitlin Pearce — switch up their approach with a variety of instruments. "The Golden Vanity" features teasing lashes of guitar, murmured organ, soupy effects, and flickering chimes, while violin stands out on the title track and "Evangeline" pairs more urgent singing with a slowed reggae vibe. All the while, the Dry Spells bow at the altar of creepy, analog-steeped folk, making sincere offerings to the mysterious powers that be.

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Doug Wallen

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