Interesting group. There are traces of Phish and the jam band way of thinking to them in unorthodox approaches that are nonetheless highly melodic. There's also a shuh-boom and swing, understated, that's infectious as all get out, making the mellifluity which dominates the disc far more emphatic than would otherwise be the case. No matter where you go in it, though, A Perfect Curve is extremely refreshing, folky in an America (the band) fashion, smooth as Matthew's Southern Comfort, and the sort of ensemble that would play at a block party and put smiles on everyone's face.
Julia Dooley is the lead vocalist and encants in a somewhat basso register, carrying a bit of Martha Bates (Motels) to her as she spins out oft strange stories about odd people and off-center situations. Blue Line Highway blends rock, folk, MOR, Americana, and a number of other subtler influences for a sound that's simultaneously unique and very very familiar. It is, in fact, the sort of métier we wish Terry Garthwaite, Toni Brown, and Joy of Cooking would've produced this solidly. Those elder muses hit it only every so often, and usually bluesier, but this band pitches a perfect game, with not one cut below any of its companions, a 11-spot of continually satisfying strains.
A Perfect Curve is excellent music for a variety of occasions: driving, background to a patio BBQ with friends, wine sipping, just about any application you might put it to. Dooley plays a harmonca and a bit of percussion while singing, Melissa McKenna handles guitar duties and back-up vocals, John Leedes duplicates her, and Ray Alfano carries the rhythm section in his bass, but the ensemble made a superb choice in Doug Austin and his marvelous mandolin (and violin), a crucial element in the mix, someone who should be a permanent member. Toss this on when ya wanna feel good, need a bounce in your step, and wanna walk through the day humming and snapping your fingers.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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