The Art Of Facts

Miracle Whips

Devil Duck Records, 2020

http://miraclewhips.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/24/2020

A Portland, Oregon and Saugerties, New York trio consisting of veteran musicians Paul Dillon, Jason Merritt, and Jeff Mercel, Miracle Whips brings a strong resume to the table. They've played in bands like Mercury Rev, Whip, and Sparklehorse. Though Merritt released an album under the moniker Whip in 2008, this version of his song craft recruits Dillon and Mercel's strong contributions on the studio live recorded affair. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Book Of Matches” starts the listen with a stylish and subdued delivery of crisp instrumentation and warm acoustic guitars that's not short on energy, and “The Stockage” follows with gentle keys before building into an atmospheric folk-ish tune that benefits greatly from piano and pedal steel. “Captain Fuckpants,” which is the best song title of 2020 so far, then simmers with a working class quality amid the cosmic Americana that's both mysterious and inviting.

Elsewhere, “Still Not Souled” flows with adventurous roots rock with some playful, psychedelic nods, while “Stupid Bird” glides with spirited harmonica and whistling in the rugged retro-rock setting. “5 In Gold,” the album highlight, then offers a head bobbin', toe tappin' display of timeless, country-spirited rock that's impossible to not enjoy.

Close to the end, “Small And Good” leads with a louder, almost jarring introduction before finding a dreamy place to exist, and “Funeral Parts” recruits strategic pedal steel with some indie folk ideas. “Go With Gone” exits the listen with an atypical formula of Americana where mood is key as the record finishes just as strong as it started.

Somehow, despite all of them being a part of the Sparklehorse and Mercury Rev tour in 1999, Dillon and Merritt never met. I suppose, though, that was for the best, as it could have changed the course of events that may have resulted in The Art Of Facts never happening, which you'll understand as a tragedy if you spend any time listening to the record. 

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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