Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Review - Excuses for Travellers

Artist: Mojave 3

Posted on Wed, Oct 25, 2000 at 4:00 AM

Excuses for Travellers
Label: 4AD
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Excuses for Travellers

Excuses for Travellers is a wispy, whispered record of countrified melodies and distant harmonicas by languid British folk minimalists Mojave 3. Sometimes "Excuses" resembles Beth Orton's work, while a few times it brushes up against Elliot Smith's late-night, failing-to-be-happy ballads.

The CD unfortunately fizzles here and there, but it mostly maintains a plangent sweetness. "She Broke You So Softly" melts around the lines "You wait for a whirlwind/ to unwind your soul," and "Return to Sender" actually breaks into a cheerful skip. The opener, "In Love With a View," however, is something else entirely: a sparklingly perfect waltz fully conveying the muffled tragedy of desire and loss, where a fuzzy guitar breaks in to split the song's heart. "I was happy to fall," sings Neil Halstead, achingly.

Nothing else on the record reaches such a cut-jewel beauty, but Mojave 3 knows how to scatter small handfuls of glitter on a dust-bowl landscape.

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