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O' Be Joyful by Shovels & Rope
Released: Jul 2012
Label: Dualtone Music Group, Inc.
For a second, all the instruments drop out of the title track of Shovels & Rope's debut, allowing space for Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent to nearly holler, "Ain't it nice to be fightin' on the winning side?" That line's ragged triumph is a good primer on the band: After years as indie songwriters, the duo has put together a collection of scrappy Americana bursting at the seams with joyful energy. Though the most exhilarating moments are sinister, banjo-and-distortion numbers -- like "Birmingham" and "Shank Hill St." -- their harmonies on "Lay Low" and "Carnival" pack an emotional wallop.
Nate Cavalieri

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