April 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: New Bums – Voices in a Rented Room

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New Bums

Voices in a Rented Room

Drag City

Street: 02.18

New Bums = T.Rex + Cass McCombs

Alt-folk artists typically depend on limited methods of composition when fleshing out their songs. Some focus on telling emblematic stories to carry their creative substance (until another artist tells the same story better) and others fall on the crutch of political critiques (which will immediately filter out non-fans). However, artists like New Bums clandestinely deliver tongue-in-cheek subject matter between restrained vocal harmonies and warmly simplistic acoustic textures in a way that will have you unconsciously hitting the play button regardless of nihilistic lyrical themes. Acid-folk musician Ben Chasny (alongside Donovan Quinn) sings about teenage heavy metal–induced suicides, the loathing of girlfriends and the pitfalls of optimism—all in an eerily comforting way. In sum, Voices in a Rented Room levies a potato chip effect—you’ll unknowingly devour every bit of it and then despise yourself for it. –Gregory Gerulat
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