[Album Review] SwampWolf- Prerecorded Histories
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Release Date: April 18, 2017
Label: Shipp Records

From the radiation soaked swamps of Eastern Europe comes a Bob Dylan (or maybe Tom Waits) for the new millennium. In other words, SwampWolf takes rootsy, rustic instrumentation and bends it to serve his own ends as a poetic and experimental artist.

SwampWolf (aka Ilya Krivosheiko, who now lives in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia) probably doesn’t deliberately set out to confound our expectations, and yet he does, regardless of whatever those expectations may be. Down-home bluegrass reverberates throughout songs like “Brown and Green”, even while an odd beat and chant seep into the mix. On “Silent Boat” he seems to do an out-and-out Tom Waits impersonation, but elsewhere he takes more comfort in the spaces in between: vocals that are neither personal/confessional nor wildly unrelatable; music that is neither retro-sounding nor futuristic; vibes that are neither quite cozy and comfortable nor completely distilled of warmth.

From tracks that wouldn’t out of place on Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ to Tori Amos-style singer-songwriter moments, SwampWolf leads us down many a corridor. But he rarely has to drag us kicking and screaming to do so, and we sure are happy wherever we end up.