erasing clouds

The Tractor Kings, Homesick

review by dave heaton

After listening to their third LP Homesick, it didn’t surprise me to learn that the Tractor Kings are from Illinois. They remind me of Uncle Tupelo and other ‘90s countryish-rock bands from IL or MO. But not exactly like those bands… It’s more like they tap into a melancholy beyond the surface of a band like Uncle Tupelo, and extend it out towards the sunset, towards quiet evening landscapes, towards the horizon.

It’s not dire music, it can get light and catchy but the overall sound is bittersweet. You’re full of longing, of feeling, but also sitting on the front porch, not acting but mulling over. This feeling sometimes comes from a pace reminiscent of dream-pop/slow-core bands, but also from guitars that cascade and stretch, (and punch and intrude at key times) and Jake Fleischli’s singing in a style that could be viewed as drab, but really conveys resignation, hurt, resentment, loneliness, and a matter-of-fact, I guess that’s how life goes, quality.

On songs like “Never Comin’ Back”, there’s a general sense that a moment has passed, that there’s nothing left to be done, but still an urgency of sorts. A cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” is also blended in, putting these individual scenes in a larger context of woe and concern.}

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