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Puerto Muerto - Heaven and Dirt

  by Sarah Maybank

published: 7 / 10 / 2007

Puerto Muerto - Heaven and Dirt
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Creepy, but beautiful-sounding new double EP from husband-and-wife duo Puerto Muerto with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre obsession

No stopping that Jodie Marsh is there? The all-too-brief outfits; the see-in-the-dark tan – and now, to top it off, running around masquerading as angel-voiced Puerto Muerto mezzo-soprano Christa Meyer, wantonly goading innocent reporters with crude challenges to “guess the size of my breasts”. Oh ? Really ? Meyer pulled that last stunt herself? Eew. Or should that be, ‘Wow?’ After all, when you’ve got a voice as charming as vintage lace and as wistful as a parlour-full of 19th century maiden aunts, why sit around being a sweet,pleasing cliche when you can have much more fun hauling 21st-century folk out of Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom’s enchanted garden and plonking it firmly in the back row of a scuzzy drive-in? That’s right; as well as nursing a weapons-grade potty mouth, Meyer has a long-running, weirdly fruitful obsession with 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', which,luckily for the pair of them, she shares with husband/Puerto Muerto co-member Tim Kelley. Worrying. But when it inspires creepy-beautiful stuff like 2004’s ‘lost’ soundtrack album to the film, 'Songs Of Muerto County', plus smouldering new double EP, 'Heaven and Dirt', we reckon this pair can stockpile all the decapitation hardware they like. Honestly, they can even order it on our credit card. Taking a hyper-inspired collagists’ approach, Puerto Muerto use nu-folk’s bewitching melodies and ethereal acoustica as a template, then give it a playground roughing-up, slapping in a bit of growling blues here, and a pounding, flamenco-ish rythm there. After that, it’s a simple matter of weaving in some genuine old-timer stuff – Orange Foundation one-two-three,one-two-threes like an old-time waltz champion, while the salt-flecked, sea shantyish 'Simple People' will have you horn-piping like dry land was never invented. Then, just for good measure, they top it off with production techniques that’d even have Beck scratching his head in puzzlement, ('Cold Night' sounds so echoey and distant it must have been recorded in a public convenience on the moon). And all while keeping that typical Puerto Muerto sensation of imminent dread. Once we’ve got our heads around this one, we’re keen for Bright Eyes to soundtrack 'Evil Dead' and 'Will Oldham' to see what he can come up with after watching 'Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI'. Looks like it’s going to be a busy winter.

Track Listing:-
1 Up Here Alone
2 Here We Go
3 Simple People
4 The Air Is Way Up There
5 Dance
6 Who We Are Today
7 Down In The Mud
8 Cold Night
9 Orange Foundation
10 Take The Moonlight
11 Tread Lightly
12 Where You Stand

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