7.5

Cadillac Sky: Letters in the Deep

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Cadillac Sky: <em>Letters in the Deep</em>

Bluegrass gone wild over heartache

The end result of a five-day session in Dan Auerbach’s Akron Analog studio, Letters in the Deep is the third LP by this group of young Texas-Nashville transplants often photographed in jeans and t-shirts. Thanks to one versatile banjo, plus Bryan Simpson’s mandolin and achy warble, the album’s crooning (“Human Cannonball,” “Tired Old Phrases”) feels as classic and loose as the band’s wardrobe. But with these basic bluegrass elements, Cadillac Sky also wind themselves into frenzies—ones where the boys’ stringed instruments quiver and then scurry to an escalating interrogation of infidelity (“3rd Degree”), and Matt Menefee’s fiery banjo-picking adds urgency to a group dare: “Come on and break my heart again.” These songs often exude feelings of uncertainty and doubt (“Trash Bag,” “Pitiful Waltz”)—though with a full-length this diverse, Cadillac Sky still sound self-assured in their own despair.

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