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Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band 

Second Attention (Kill Rock Stars)

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It's high time that James Toth's homiez staged an intervention for the guy. Wouldn't have to be too crowded -- maybe enlist the man's B.F.F. Tovah Olson and hagiographers Thurston Moore and Byron Coley to kidnap Mssr. Wand from one of those zillion Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice jam sessions. They should take him out to the desert and plead with him to let the Voice's gaseous, junk-shop, freak-folk flag burn, concentrating his energies instead on rough, righteous gems like last year's Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Figg and Second Attention.

A collective composed of the Skygreen Leopards, assorted Voices, and others supports Toth's usual Holy Bible thumb-throughs -- here in a homey, extra-Folkways style that's as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. "You're knee-deep in some sin/And your cavalry has thinned," he warbles sympathetically as unplugged guitars jog in place on "Crucifixion, Pt. II," with forlorn harmonicas and pedal steel materializing midway through. "The Bleeder" features humble, unhurried banjo-vs.-acoustic dueling that's soon overshadowed by a tasteful but white-hot guitar solo that still writhes in the memory hours later.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Ray Cummings

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