Viva Last Blues

Viva Last Blues

Will Oldham makes a slight name change for his third full-length Palace album, modifying the "Brothers" tag to "Music" as the band expands to include Sebadoh's Jason Loewenstein on drums and Plush's Liam Hayes on piano and organ. The performances are sloppy at times, with rhythms that halt and piano and guitar notes wandering off course. But there's still an enigmatic charm to the opening trio of tunes, with "More Brother Rides" (which builds an unusual web of sound as it shuffles between two chords) and "Viva Ultra" (which features a few bum notes, despite the song's simplicity). "Work Hard/Play Hard" is strikingly loud and uptempo compared with Oldham's typical penchant for the slow and crestfallen. "New Partner" uses the simplicity of a classic country song to evoke Willie Nelson, while "Cat's Blues" adds bluesy guitar courtesy of Bryan Rich, whose lines blur into dissonance. Oldham explores the joys of amateurism and spontaneity, coming up with one of the most compelling (and delightfully flawed) albums of the '90s.

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