Friday, August 02, 2019

The Delines

Some feel-good head-bobbin' here.

Okay, maybe not.

But if you're looking for the perfect film-noir accompaniment after the film is long over, and the TV is showing a test pattern at 4:00 a.m., you could hardly do better than "The Imperial" by The Delines. The entire album is incredible, with muted trumpet and lonesome pedal steel as the primary musical accompaniment, but I'm particularly partial to the closing track, heard here, and which pares back the sound to its elemental basics. What makes it work are Willie Vlautin's cinematic lyrics, which start with the hoary "I'm so blue I can't sleep" formula and imbues it with the specificity of an urban dirge; alarm clocks ringing through the thin walls of the apartment next door, the banging of garbage cans as the harbinger of a new day. Vlautin is a novelist in his other night job, and it shows. Amy Boone delivers these devastating words in a resigned, world-weary hush. That's the problem with waiting on the blue. It's still blue.

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