Vic Chesnutt, North Star Deserter

Vic travels north at the behest of his pal filmmaker Jem Cohen and they hook up with the Constellation house band of ex-Godspeed (is Godspeed ex? I dunno) troublemakers and make a CD. Is it a reason to celebrate? Yes, with caveats. First, Vic is a blessed songwriter at times. AT TIMES. He has hits and misses and there is some of each on this. Second, Vic writes lyrical folk-poppy tunes, sometimes in a minor key, but, at their best, gentle and catchy, while Godspeed do not. Godspeed whip up maelstroms of sonic whooey. There’s a bit of both here, which is fine if your tastes stretch that far, not so fine if you want one or the other. Or, if you’re like me, want one or the other at different times of the day and don’t have the energy to make thematic playlists on my iPod. That said, it’s a happy thing that this exists and there isn’t enough happiness in the world, so celebrate it. (Terence Dick)

CD, Constellation Records, www.cstrecords.com

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