There’s a charming languor to Pale Morning Dun, a Vermont alt-country contingent that’s recently relocated to Missoula. The best of Daylight Staging sounds like a cross between a front-porch jam session and rough outtakes from Uncle Tupelo, but to find the gems takes some patience.
“I Drive an Old Van” kicks things off promisingly, with songwriter/banjoist/frontman V.J. Guarino taking a low-key approach to small town living. When he sings, “I don’t buy the paint, I drive an old van/I fish in the water, I sleep when I can/ I drink when I’m able and I wish that I am/And I ain’t gonna work for no damn man, no I ain’t gonna work for no man,” the apathy just oozes. I was sold when Katie Trautz’s subtle harmonies and fiddle work moved to the front of the lax arrangement. A similar discovery appears on “Held by Trees,” a tighter, brooding track that ignites during Eli Geller’s Wurlitzer solo.
PMD can miss its mark—the amped up aggression on “Santa Maria” and “Carnage” was a turnoff—but not nearly as often as it intrigues. Daylight Staging strikes me as an experimental debut worthy of a follow-up. (Skylar Browning)
Pale Morning Dun plays the Palace Sunday, March 23, with Human Bell, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities and The Sherlocks. 9 PM. Cover TBA.