Release Date: November 23rd, 2010
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska Krieger
For those that don’t like country or folk music, Brett Detar’s debut solo album may be a tough sell, especially considering the first track on the album. With the immediate immersion into slide guitars and a twangy sound, it could be a bit difficult to swallow for some listeners. Bird In The Tangle is a solid collection, but the intense sound and style may be a bit much for those unsure of the genre.
As already mentioned, “Empty House on a Famous Hill” plunges head first into country territory. Detar fully embraces this particular style which is interesting considering his previous work with The Juliana Theory and the metalcore group Zao and many of the tracks on Bird In the Tangle couldn’t seem further from his previous work. For listeners needing a little less twang and a little more grit, “The Devil’s Gotta Earn” may fit the bill. Sure, it still is fully in the country camp, but the key, tempo and darker nature of the song make it seem a bit like something Johnny Cash might have come up with if he were still alive.
“Road To Ruin Woman” maintains this darker feel and while it does have more guitar picking and the like, it is reminiscent of some of the songs by Grant Lee Buffalo. It’s country music for those that aren’t 100% into country and it isn’t the completely shiny, made for VH1 country that many artists seem to create these days. “A Miner’s Prayer” fits the more traditional sound some listeners might expect, but Detar makes the storytelling work for him and the song with its melancholy is just what the album needs at this stage.
“Cocaine Whiskey and Heroin” is a blues track with a good dose of humor in the mix. The banjo running through the song adds an expected sound but the song would surely be missing something vital had it been left out. Sure, the song is a little tongue in cheek, but it’s nice when an artist doesn’t take him or herself too seriously. Many people will still find this album just too country for their tastes, but what makes this worth a listen is the fact that Detar both looks to country and folk’s past while giving it his own modern twist. At the same time, he doesn’t add too much slickness to his songs and that keeps the integrity of the sound.