If You Slip Into the Fog
WILLAMETTE WEEK ... The group-which sounds a bit like Band of Horses without all the studio bells and whistles-trades in chord progressions and drum patterns normally associated with summery pop groups, but your takeaway emotion will likely be melancholy. It's a neat trick, actually: The record's stark, slightly seasick sheen calls more attention to the Historians' understated twang than to it's tom or kick drum (the percussion floats in a mist somewhere behind the track). That, combined with frontman Dave Shur's achingly pure vocal approach, gives tracks like opener "Flathead Lake" and "Old King Crow" a rustic, AM-pop feel often tapped into by bands like R.E.M. and Okkervil River. But it's "On the Way Home" that reveals Future Historians' true colors: Sad bastards through and through. It's working out for them. CASEY JARMAN.