The Greencards - Sweetheart of the Sun
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Sweetheart of the Sun (Darling Street, 2013)

The Greencards

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

The Greencards may be from Australia, but their music exists in some utopian anywhere that incorporates acoustic instruments and expansive arrangements in service of songs that are more poetry than pop. They play the kind of new acoustic music that's more about an overarching feel rather than any specific genre tag; The Greencards have toured with Bob Dylan, played MerleFest and been embraced by country, folk, bluegrass and rock audiences alike.

This set of tunes - and the way it is arranged on the track listing - echoes the live show, alternating between expressive instrumentals such as Paddle the Torrens and emotionally resonant numbers featuring Carol Young's unadorned yet gorgeous voice, such as the languid, regretful tone of Ocean Floor or the slow-building travelogue of the Celtic-flavored Traveler's Song. When the full band kicks in vocally and instrumentally, as they do on the chorus to Wide Eyed Immigrant, it's an aural release of pent-up energy that makes even the slight textural shifts significant and memorable.

Kym Warner's mandolin work is both the plinking underpinning of songs such as Black, Black Water and the sparkling decorative element throughout, saving the quieter tracks from a vaguely New Age mellow mushiness that threatens to overtake the proceedings at times. This isn't the loudest music The Greencards have ever made, but it is the most effortlessly rendered. The various instruments, from bouzouki to accordion, pedal steel, and other exotic extras, provide a textured approach that's many miles away from the mainstream yet more accessible than one might imagine.

CDs by The Greencards

Sweetheart of the Sun, 2013 The Brick Album, 2011 Fascination, 2009 Viridian, 2007 Weather and Water, 2005

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