Cheap Wine “Dreams” (Independent, 2017)

These Italian stalwarts have been pumping out Americana records for two decades now; this is their twelfth and the third in a trilogy that began with Based On Lies. This record, and the previous Beggar Town, share the same characters. These characters have endured hardship and are now finally looking beyond the dire economic circumstances to find redemption in love and dreams. Like all of their records this is pretty down the line roots rock, the biggest influence that I can discern being the Walkabouts, who are deservedly huge in Europe. Cheap Wine as the name suggests don’t have the subtlety of the Seattle band, they lack the light and shade but these are stark line drawings as songs that are effective in their own way.

Pieces of Disquiet manages to bring dreamlike feel with reverberating notes of guitar like a Dartmoor fog dripping with atmosphere, whilst Bad Crumbs and Pats on the Back goes down the incendiary route, detonating the guitars right at the start and keeping things warm with the fission of organ stoking the fire. I Wish I Were the Rainbow is far quieter, the organ more a feather bed, the guitars a gentle burble of a lazy afternoon, this dream an afternoon nap. The title track spends time setting the scene, a comparatively bucolic soundscape, then a spoken word pep talk, a self-help book squeezed into seven minutes, that creates a kind of new-age Americana – inspiring and relaxing, completely weird and yet sensible.

Author: David Cowling

Punk rock, Go-Betweens, REM, Replacments, Husker Du, Minutemen, Will Oldham, Smog, Whiskeytown, Ass Ponys but probably most of all Howe Gelb, led me on this journey.

Leave a comment..