Dead Winter Carpenters 


Kudos to any band that can genre-hop, but unless they fall in the same ranks as Beck, Ween or Zappa, cohesion still reigns supreme. Northern California's Dead Winter Carpenters have crossed through every realm of the ever-expanding Americana stratosphere since their 2010 debut album, letting their propensity for improvisation guide them through vast sonic territories without ever losing sight of their starting point. Their fourth release, Washoe, is equal parts adventurous and thoughtful, with plenty of exciting left turns that still lead the listener back home.

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The magic of the mashup here is that it happens within songs rather than between. The railroad rhythm of "Is It Enough," for instance, drops out for a swirling, psychedelic fiddle buildup that nearly hits a rock peak before shifting gears back to the original rollicking groove. Bryan Daines' telecaster licks often provide the remarkable stitching between moods and genres, blasting through chimey note patterns on "Love Amongst Theives" and overdriven rock bends on the thumping "North Wind." The lead vocals often sound thin unless bolstered by a harmony. And, at times, too much layered instrumental interplay or effects seem to bog down the mix, such as on "Roland and Annalee" and "Maverick Sky," the most disjointed tune on the album. Still, the band nails plenty of smooth segueways to make Washoe one helluva ride.

The Dead Winter Carpenters play the Top Hat Fri., May 6, at 10 PM, along with Local Yokel. $5.

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