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Boomkat Product Review:
Following on from his hugely acclaimed North Star Deserter album, Vic Chesnutt returns with A Silver Mt Zion in tow for another set of dark, heart-rendingly intimate songs. The Athens, GA songwriter is one of those artists who enjoys a loyal cult following among his peers and those in the know, but broad, commercial recognition remains elusive for Chesnutt. This latest suite is another magnificent collection however, and one that gets underway with high drama: 'Coward' serves as a frostily confessional opener, quietly and mournfully announcing its presence before ringing lead guitars chime in with a gloomy fanfare after Chesnutt wearily announces: "I am a coward". The harmonised, heavily overdriven strings and plodding drum-thump almost disguise this as a metal record, but in spirit the album comes closer to Tom Waits' brand of Americana - never more so than on the jazzy brushed kits and upright bass of 'We Hovered With Short Wings', sung in a faintly creepy, childlike falsetto that's reminiscent of that half-whisper Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous is prone to slipping into. Gestures towards frayed-nerve folk ('When The Bottom Fell Out') and alt. Nashville shuffle ('Concord Country Jubilee') all stand up beautifully under scrutiny, but At The Cut's full-band rock & roll dirges offer the most, with 'Chinaberry Tree' sounding especially compelling in all its quivering, barely contained hysteria. Highly recommended.