Q - 7/00, p.1163 stars out of 5
- "...A return to band-oriented sounds and a move to serious brainfodder....A cut above the pack."
Magnet - 6-7/00, pp.81-2
"...Using the occasional mariachi feel and hard-edged guitar perspective....[they] continue to stretch the boundaries of Americana to the furthest extreme."
Mojo (Publisher) - 11/00, p.96
"...Delves into Morricone moodiness, atmospheric desert guitarings and filmic instrumentals..."
Friends Of Dean Martinez: Mike Semple (guitar); Bill Elm (steel guitar, harmonium, bass, percussion); Graham Reynolds (piano, organ); Dave LaChance (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Terry Oubre (sitar); Tommy Larkins (percussion).
The set is one made up primarily of originals and marks a further distillation of leader Bill Elm's vision, one that here takes in vast cinematic landscapes with clearly articulated melodies that slowly uncoil like a snake on a hot rock. This release continues where the group's previous ATARDECER left off. The ballad "Nothing At All" features a heartbreaking tension brought about by a melody that passes from a churchly organ to a fuzzy and echoed steel guitar. George Gershwin's "Summertime" finds the group actually tackling something familiar and running it through their high and lonely atmosphere.
Friends of Dean Martinez' mid-'90s beginnings drew comparisons to the principals of the then-burgeoning lounge music scene, but the labeling was never an entirely accurate one. This outfit has always eschewed surface sheen and has reveled in a sort of gleeful exaltation of darker moods and impulses. Elm's steel guitar--fuzzy around the edges--is one of the instrumental highlights of this set.