Solace in Sore Hands – Amandine

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For Swedish quintet Amandine, alt-country means switching musical citizenship. Unlike the rest of their compatriots who are busily churning out indie pop, Amandine have a more down home (banjos, anyone?) sensibility. But these artists formerly known as the Witchita Linemen, despite their exotic origins, play folk without the freak. There seems to be nothing of their native land in this quartet, although plenty of Thorazine– Solace in Sore Hands is a beautiful downer of an album. The songs are mostly sad and sometimes cautious, as if they are all intent on not hitting a sour note (violinist Kristina Lundin’s vibrato seemingly trembles at the thought). But the musicianship is more than solid; it’s the emotional lives of the bandmembers that are so fragile. And on some tracks, arena-worthy guitar action tempers the delicacy of the glockenspiel, and you start to think that maybe there is solace in Solace after all. That Olof Godleof is right when he sings on “Our Nameless Will” that “There is comfort in loneliness.”