The Lonesome Valley Singers, Corpse Circus Revue

One of this album’s songs is titled “This is for the Aftermath.” It’s for the aftermath of a love affair gone wrong, but it serves as a mise en abyme for the whole album. The personal wreckage through which the singer wanders is a metaphor for the social wreckage through which the characters in other songs wander, an economic and ecological ruin in which the fictional band of specters, the Corpse Circus Review, sings its songs “for the soldiers of the Third World War” (from the title song). Imagine the ghosts of Eliot Brood and the Silverhearts teaming up for a shindig at an abandoned honky tonk where the protagonists of Cormac Macarthy’s The Road take shelter before setting out again on the dusty, cannibal -haunted road to God-knows-where. That’s what this album sounds like. But it’s not all bleakness– there’s a glockenspiel! And it has the added attraction of being one of the rare concept albums whose concept is a clever conceit and not a cockamamie piece of pretentious nonsense (I’m looking at you, Tommy!). (Erik Weissengruber)

CD, Self Righteous Records, www.selfrighteous.ca

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