THE CROOKED BROTHERS – Lawrence, Where’s Your Knife?

“I’ve got funk, I’ve got country / I’ve got rhythm and booze/ I’ve got this crooked little heart / I’ve got this thing for you.” And what’s that? Following 2009’s Deathbed Pillowtalk, Manitoba’s The Crooked Brothers (Jesse Matas, Darwin Baker and Matt Foster), bring their signature growling and all aforementioned genres to Lawrence, Where’s Your Knife? along with stories of long winters, epidemics, hope, loneliness, and sorrow. “17 Horses” is one of the strongest tracks on here with its super catchy, up-tempo beat and gruff, indulgent vocals. Feline basslines prowl all over this record but spend a sizeable amount of time slinking and stretching around “Kansas” and “Another Sun.” The dobro, mandolin, harmonica, banjo, fiddle, and violin all lend a great bluesy feel to the 10 songs. A favourite is “Good Man”, a calmer piece so warm with harmonicas and swaying guitars that you can practically hear the love the lyrics express: “There ain’t nothing like a good man / to drag you down / I ain’t nothing but a good man / why do you keep me around?” Another must-listen is “Your Love is a Ghost Town” simply because it perfectly captures the eerie stillness of a dusty ghost town: raspy vocals are set off by an excellently creeping, measured bassline. I cringe at twanging and country music’s notoriously trite verses as much as the next person, but what The Crooked Brothers have come out with this time infuses soul and story into sound in one of the most non-cliched ways I’ve yet seen. (Transistor 66, Adrienne Yeung

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