Music | Local CD Revue: Dead Horse Point, Navigator Throwing Tongues, Self Expression Music | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Music | Local CD Revue: Dead Horse Point, Navigator Throwing Tongues, Self Expression Music 

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Dead Horse Point Only Time Will Save You ***
Repeating a long, sad journey never seems like a good idea, but Only Time Will Save You demands it: It wasn’t until the second listening that I caught the beauty and heartbreak that DHP pour into every track. Opener “Going Down To Meet the Soil” does a fine job of introducing their sun-bleached, earthy alt-country, but it’s the seven-minute title track that puts tear-tracks on dusty faces. Singer Brian Oakley’s muted voice mourns over beautiful steel-pedal and building guitar/snare, while the chorus evokes Built to Spill at their most chilly. The album finds a comfort zone/slump through songs “Would You Wash Me Down?” and “The Dirt Knows My Name” which prove to be overly long, but closer “Bleached White Sheets” is very much an oasis at the end of this long, sad journey … except, instead of water, it’s a horn section.

Navigator Throwing Tongues ***.5
Utah’s A Star Records have yet to disappoint, and their release of Navigator’s debut is no exception. Mostly recorded in singer/guitarist Brandon J. McKenna’s bedroom, Throwing Tongues is the perfect example of how originality and affection can persevere over shiny production value. By mixing the charming, religious-lite of Daniel Johnston with Sparklehorse experimentalisms and throwing some early-Meat Puppets vocals in for good measure, Navigator’s kaleidoscope textures make it a lo-fi gem. “Good and Evil” establishes McKenna’s elegant finger-picking, which he continues on the album’s most subdued song “Chariots of Fire.” The homemade production becomes apparent especially when there are more instruments than a guitar (like, say, drums), but McKenna’s enthusiasm makes it not only forgivable, but charming.

Self Expression Music Volume 1 ***
Self Expression Music is a collective of 20 or so local emcees, held together by producer Lam—which makes Volume 1 feel more like a compilation than a proper album. Luckily, Lam’s masterful production-value keeps the entire disc afloat, even when individual tracks’ content falters. Emcee Blu’s “Who Do You Want” throws down hate for the scene (not to mention homophobic slurs … contradictory to the positivity that S.E.M. pride themselves on in their press release). But the good outnumbers the eh: Jef Doogie’s “I’m Through” is soulful R&B, and downright sexy. “Big Green Eyes” by The Association has the dancy, spacey feel of a Pharrell production. Despite some uneven content, Volume 1 sounds like world-class hip-hop that could compete in the Top 20 circuit.

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Ryan Bradford

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