13 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their third full-length album, Black Prairie prove they’re not just a side project with members of The Decemberists. The sound is still plenty varied, but there’s a focus to the musicianship that seems less of a novelty and more of a serious pursuit. In short, they’re Portland, Ore.’s 2014 answer to the U.K.’s Fairport Convention of the '60s. The harmonies and folk rock of “Songs to Be Sung” resemble the feel of Unhalfbricking, while frontwoman Annalisa Tornfelt finds herself in the Sandy Denny role, which she never plays as anyone other than herself. Her solo performance on “If I Knew You Then” is striking, as are the moments she has to herself on “Cold Day” and “Count to Ten.” “The White Tundra” turns into an epic track (think “Tam Lin,” Fairport fans) based on band founder Chris Funk’s guitar riff and Tornfelt’s Norse-based poetry. Whatever bluegrass roots the band once revealed have been overpowered with electric instruments and a clear modern sound that’s well pointed out by producer Vance Powell (Dead Weather, Red Fang). 

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their third full-length album, Black Prairie prove they’re not just a side project with members of The Decemberists. The sound is still plenty varied, but there’s a focus to the musicianship that seems less of a novelty and more of a serious pursuit. In short, they’re Portland, Ore.’s 2014 answer to the U.K.’s Fairport Convention of the '60s. The harmonies and folk rock of “Songs to Be Sung” resemble the feel of Unhalfbricking, while frontwoman Annalisa Tornfelt finds herself in the Sandy Denny role, which she never plays as anyone other than herself. Her solo performance on “If I Knew You Then” is striking, as are the moments she has to herself on “Cold Day” and “Count to Ten.” “The White Tundra” turns into an epic track (think “Tam Lin,” Fairport fans) based on band founder Chris Funk’s guitar riff and Tornfelt’s Norse-based poetry. Whatever bluegrass roots the band once revealed have been overpowered with electric instruments and a clear modern sound that’s well pointed out by producer Vance Powell (Dead Weather, Red Fang). 

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