Caleb Lindskoog and his Silver State bandmates lumber out of Nevadan deserts by way of Brooklyn, bearing a set of benzo-treated guitar jangles and sly, boyish vocals that make up the mildly pleasing Neil Young/Smog/Songs Ohio/Bonnie “Prince” Billy study Cut and Run. It’s a testament either to the ubiquity of the dreary Americana dude or the preponderance of elements needed to fashion one, but it seems every bar gig I go to these days features some weird-bearded, pupils-dilated mumbler on the opening slot, casting drunken laments against subtle guitar static and rote country-western rhythms. Without an accompaniment of glass-clink and chitchat, and played through laptop speakers, Cut and Run sounds familiar yet naked. I very well could have been hearing the last minutes of a Silver State set while getting my wrist stamped and waiting to buy a beer; their music is innocuously background-worthy, scarcely palpable when it’s there and forgettable when it’s done. Most of the songs on Cut and Run move at a walking place, lyrics applying some vague resentment and guitars tracing familiar visions neatly in time to the steps. “Gotta Cut” and “Under the Rug,” nearly interchangeable, both follow in the wake of Bill Callahan’s classic “Blood Red Bird,” electric dirges duly performed if unimaginatively conceived. Although most of the album’s tunes sound like the most unremarkable four bars pulled from the jammy coda of “Down by the River” and repeated for a song’s duration, Cut and Run‘s best track is a fuzz-hugging moment of brightness that pays tribute to prime mid-‘90s Matthew Sweet. Do not buy Cut and Run, but consider downloading “Faith, You Changed Your Name,” a sunshiny stomper that, judging from its soporific neighbors on the album, must have exhausted the Silver State to record.
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