Mark Mandeville & Old Constitution "Mark Mandeville & Old Constitution"
New England duo Mark Mandeville and Rianne Richards are joined here by a fine bunch of players to form Old Constitution and to deliver a neat little set of well-penned and very attractive country tinged numbers.
Mandeville sings the majority of the numbers with Richards harmonising although she does have a vocal showpiece on 'Cardboard Wings' where the harmonising is taken up by Hannah Peckham. Banjo, Dobro and pedal steel feature throughout but set firmly in a band context with the end result being very similar in sound and feel to some classic Americana albums of the past by the likes of The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo and The Walkabouts.
Mandeville pens all of the songs and proves to be capable of some striking writing that evokes the likes of Jay Farrar, and at times Will Oldham. While all of the album is above average, mention must be made of the closing three songs which haul the album into the upper echelons of this years releases. 'House of Stone' with its mournful clarinet and delicate mandolin is a beautiful miniature while 'Between the Signal And Me' seems to conjure up the ghost of Hank Williams.
Best of all is the tremendous closer 'Sleep When You’re Dead', which has a fine Bonny Prince Billy quality to it, some majestic piano playing and which poses the ultimate question of what happens at the end. A great little album.