Samantha Crain: The Confiscation

By: Dennis Cook

Subtitled "A Musical Novella," The Confiscation (released July 22 on Ramseur Records) has young girls laying eggs in rivers and a smartly fractured unfolding that slips whispery weirdness into almost Dylan-y pure music. Clocking in at just 21 minutes, this introductory EP rings with a few pretensions but also lends peculiar comfort to nihilistic lines like "there's no room for speaking and nothing will ever be saved." Hailing from Shawnee, Oklahoma, Samantha Crain's modernist folk is reminiscent of Britain's under-sung Thea Gilmore, with whom she shares a entrancingly curved voice, a gift for imagery that sticks and a slightly breathless, organic feel that escapes all musty folksy clich├ęs. A slightly more beaten up Gillian Welch is another decent touchstone. Despite the lofty air floating on the edges, Crain is also capable of making a simple line like "I did something wrong" work wonders through repetition. The ghost that'll follow you around is "In Smithereens, The Search For Affinity," a steel guitar infused weeper that lingers like sad fog. Closer "The Last Stanchion Goes Belly Up" finds Crain laying down in rock salt with a tub-thumping blues shuffle moving into commotion and life. There's peculiar allure to Crain and The Confiscation, and plenty of excellent reasons to await her full-length debut with baited breath.

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[Published on: 7/22/08]

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