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Music  |  Reviews

Port O'Brien: Threadbare

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October 23, 2009  |  8:30am
Port O'Brien: <em>Threadbare</em>

Sparks fly on California band’s second album

Port O’Brien’s second studio album sounds just fine coming out of computer speakers or iPod headphones, but the best way to appreciate these darkly ambient, heartily ramshackle indie-folk songs is around a campfire. Working with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza, the band stitch together threads of hearty Pacific Northwest indie, West Coast rock, and rustic creak-folk to create a loose, at times uneasy intimacy that allows for murky ambience as well as raucous sing-alongs.

Van Pierszalowski still strains earnestly, adding gravity to “Oslo Campfire” and “Sour Milk/Salt Water,” but it’s Cambria Goodwin—a greater presence here than on previous outings—sews the most intriguing patterns on “Tree Bones” and “High Without Hope 3,” her spectral vocals at times barely discernible but commanding in their otherworldliness. Again addressing themes of geographical and emotional isolation, Threadbare sounds like a band trying to find its place in the world, whether on land or at sea.

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