Taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder


Woodwork Roadshow — In Bricks, In Bones

With their second album, Wilmington’s Woodwork Roadshow ( stakes its claim to be the summer soundtrack of many a frathouse, barbecue and beach trip. With its mixof old country and newgrass arrangements, InBricks, In Bones is two parts Railroad Earth andone part Of a Revolution with a splash of Underthe Table and Dreaming. Its heavy countryinflections belie the album’s true nature; it’smore folk-pop than anything. Aside from thevisceral opener “Calm Before the Storm,” there’snot a track to be found that isn’t a potpourriof rangy influences under the guise of a stringband music. They’re at their best, however,when they break from tradition just a little, asis the case on the incredibly catchy “Say It All.”You can almost picture a crowded bar singing in unison to the line, “With my brothersby my side, tear this place down one song at a time,” among virtually any other fromthat song. The bar chanteys carry on with “Nothing New,” an ode to drunken nights atWilmington’s 42nd Street Tavern. For better or for worse, alcohol is the predominanttheme across the album and the worse is seen on “No Remorse for Tess,” a touchingreflection on a forlorn lover in the throes of her own demise. It’s a rather brief album,clocking it at just over 37 minutes spread across 10 tracks. Still, with solid songwriting,deft musicianship, excellent harmonies and plenty of hooks to go around, In Bricks, InBones is more than just another new-school old-time clone.

Tori Amos — Abnormally Attracted to Sin

It’s almost impossible to write a worthy review of any of Tori Amos’ albums, as they allinevitably bear more layers than a Jungian archetype.Never one to be instantly gratifying, except maybe to hermost entrenched fans, even the always-beguiling Amoswould struggle to out-do herself in the complexity of herlast, sprawling 23-track release, American Doll Posse.Fortunately, she didn’t try to do so and her devilishly-titledlatest, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, is one that even thecasual Amos fan can take a certain degree of superficialpleasure. The darkly ambient opener “Give” hints at taboo-breaking behavior true to the album’s title, while Amos takesa step back toward classic Tori on “Welcome to England,”which suggests that she’s discarding highfalutin conceptualthemes in favor of a more autonomous direction. Maybeit’s the influence of the new label, but Amos seems to haveadopted a more electronically-oriented experimentalsound, which fortunately hits more than it misses. It’s never heavier than it is on “Police Me,”a tightly-produced collection of breaks and Medeski-inspired Hammond snippets. There’s notquite as much to absorb as there was on American Doll Posse, but at 18 tracks and just under 76minutes in length, a second helping is almost required. Much of music on the latter half soundsas though it might be better suited as a B-side or import extra, particularly the rehashed “MaryJane.” Make it to the end, however, and you’re treated to the swelling tension of Mark Alladin’sguitar on “Lady in Blue.” It might have been better served split into separate releases, butAbnormally Attracted to Sin is anything but typical Tori. For a chance to have your band’s CD reviewed, mail it to: YES!Weekly, 5500 Adams Farm Lane, Suite 204, Greensboro, NC 27407. ATTN:Ryan Snyder.