by Chris Parker
No whimper for this Brooklyn alt-country quartet, but a bright fiery crash involving principal songwriters Tim Bracy and Shannon McArdle. Like Linda and Richard Thompson before them, Bracy and McArdle who married just over two years ago celebrate their parting and the band's dissolution after a dozen years, utilizing a white-hot airing of grievances.
It's clear this won't end well from how it begins: "I'll never know if I'm alone when I'm sleeping/You come and go like the ghost of filth and dirt," Mcardle sings in the first stanza of melancholy, opening ballad, "Since I Came." But that's nothing compared to the heat McArdle generates with the bustling little rock rave, "31 Candles," in which she assails his behavior and latest conquest, complains about getting being told about it in a letter, and accuses him of "drawing blueprints, laying marble/built a shrine around your dick." Bracy's always been more reserved and cerebral, answering with an extended, metaphor on the country-inflected title track which equates their love with a tanking market, observing "You was blue chip once, you had quite a rap/but you suffered from inflated crap." This terrific eight-song mini-LP is accompanied by a bonus disc of cover, outtakes and live tracks of more interest to ardent fans. It's a sad climax for a band near the top of its craft during the past five years.
Chris Parker writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.