It took a few albums, but Chapel Hillâ€™s reining alt country heroes Roman Candle have just turned in their iPod killer â€“ not a single track is worth passing over. Oh Tall Tree in the Ear is 11 tracks of beautifully-crafted, well-written country-fused, roots-based indie rock reminiscent of some everyone from classic Big Star to the first couple of Wilco records.
The trio â€“ made up of brothers Skip and Logan Matheny and Skipâ€™s wife Timshel, has bounced around various labels for the past decade or so, spending time on Hollywood Records and V2, while execs tried to figure out how to best sell the band. Now on a small indie label, the bandâ€™s songs like the sober â€œHeartbreakâ€ or the sing-along album opener â€œEden was a Garden,â€ go so much further than a well-thought out marketing campaign. With major record labels and modern radio currently going through a death spiral, Roman Candleâ€™s latest is the perfect soundtrack to listen to as you watch the wreckage play out.
Top tracks: â€œEden was a Gardenâ€ and Heartbreakâ€
Rating: 8.7 out of 10
Roman Candle â€“ Oh Tall Tree in the Ear/CD/2009/11 tracks/Carnival Music/www.romancandlemusic.com