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Old Time Reverie – 2015 (Robust)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Mipso

With a slow-building career over the past few years, this North Carolina combo emerges into a crowded acoustic/Americana scene by painting in the corners of all their peers and precursors. Despite the album title, there's little old time traditionalism here outside of a generally homespun aesthetic; instead Mipso travels a Band-like path of assimilation, spinning their influences back out in a comfortably patchwork fashion.

"Father's House" is typical of this set of tunes, a gentle gospel waltz that might be about heaven, or it might just be about family. "Captain's Daughter" takes a more uptempo tack in the opposite genealogical direction, with violinist Libby Rodenbough driving the tune into sea story territory. She also provides the most old-time sounding, raw vocals of the group on songs such as "Down in the Water."

A previous Mipso album called out the band's music as "Dark Holler Pop," and that descriptor still fits; there's a lingering darkness on tunes such as "Everyone Knows" that's part Appalachian mountain melody, part Flannery O'Connor Southern Gothic storytelling. Mipso may not quite fit into any neatly defined category, genre or scene, but their music feels drawn from everywhere we've been before.