Richmond Fontaine-The High Country

While fronting, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most underrated bands on the planet and balancing a career as a successful author it seems inevitable that at some point Willy Vlautin would combine the two, welcome to concept album of sorts ‘The High Country’. Here the Richmond Fontaine boys have produced an album that is an audio book with a distinct story running through the seventeen tracks, some fully formed songs others dialogue and snippets that flesh out the overall tale of love, lust, jealousy, isolation, boredom, drugs, mental breakdowns and murder all set in a logging community somewhere very desolate. Within these tracks you will meet characters like Angus, Claude and Crystal just a few of the dysfunctional people that inhabit this corner of the world and the more you listen to it the more you will see just how realized this world is. In different songs the same stories are told from slightly different points of view depending on who is telling it which eventually gives you the whole picture, but the greatest trick here is that track one actually almost tells you everything you need to know, although you won’t realise on first or even second listen. This then is one of the amazing things about this record, that you keep wanting to go back, it’s not just about how good the songs themselves are but its gleaning every possible piece of information given about what is happening and then like a detective piecing it all together. Hidden within are most of the answers you need, anything else you can use your imagination without spoiling the enjoyment of this ambitious and (along with 2009s ‘We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded like a River’) career defining album.

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