Wartime Blues 

Passenger

The new album by Missoula's own Wartime Blues starts off with the swell of a keyboard set to sound like an organ and the voice of Nate Hegyi telling us something: "The tiger I beat / Was in my headlights crawling, / dragging a crippled little paw. / I felt something of the good inside me. / Now I don't feel at all." Then drums and piano, a violin and a synthesizer, come in to accompany this self-loathing confession of a man who has done violence to a tiger, who wants to know "When will you ever stop / Just thinking about yourself?" It's a great song. It's built thick with sound but still feels open.

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As the album moves forward through its 10 tracks, the progress continues. Wartime Blues keeps expanding their sound and Heygi keeps seeing a landscape populated by people like "a Navajo [who] washes his face in the sink / And looks in the mirror, / Says, 'God how I've aged.'" There are pop songs and anthems. There's pedal steel. There's eight people playing everything from the mandolin to the cello. There's a lot on this album and almost all of it is great.

Wartime Blues plays a CD release party at the Top Hat Friday, Nov. 4, at 10 PM. $5.

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