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Mondo Magazine (Canada) - original article

In The Country: Losing Stones, Collecting Bones


An ominous, suspense-movie opening leads into the slow, pensive jazz of "My Best Friend is a Dancer", the first track from In The Country's sophomore album Losing Stones, Collecting Bones. Not nearly as stark as 2005's This Was The Pace Of My Heartbeat, this album equally conjures a quiet night in with a glass of wine, a triumphant mountain-climbing odyssey, and a sultry evening swaying on the dance floor. To be sure, Losing Stones, Collecting Bones has some grim and dark parts — the Satie-like piano-mashing in “Medicine Waltz”, for instance — but none of the songs conclude with minor chords or negative tones. In a nearly imperceptible tiptoe, the dynamics work over the course of a four-minute song from the edges of your consciousness to a frontal assault, and back again. More than once I felt affected by a subtle, hushed part; then I realized that the song’s crescendo had ended a moment before, as gently as it had begun.

Pianist/songcrafter Morten Qvenild's parts mesh seamlessly with the ever-sexy upright bass, and the slowest of rhythms played with the softest of brushes. There are noodling piano parts so perfectly expressive that you can't tell if it's the cleanest improve, or the most creative scripted performance ever recorded.

The two vocal tracks are interesting but out of place in the whole; cheesy electric guitars and lyrics cheapen what is an otherwise intelligent and emotional experience. However, the album’s end result is strong, confident, and resolved. The absolute stunner of the set is "Take Me Over", but its subtle genius has been ignored by music critics in favour of art-scene guest stars Marc Ribot and Stefan Sundstrom on other tracks. With Losing Stones, Collecting Bones, In The Country are sure to get more than enough accolades, for doing what they do best.

Published : 14.02.2007