, Lincolns first full-length album (following on from the critical acclaim of both Barcelona
mini albums) crackles and strums like a desert-baked old gramophone would. Decidedly unheavy Mettle
--unlike the bands mid-1990s incarnation--this takes in the heady twilight atmosphere of a long summers evening following the broken roads down to Mexico (what do you expect from a band named after Lincoln Fargo in Jim Thompsons Heed the Thunder
?) while dusty trombones and muted trumpets are swept across the widescreen vista.
Its scenery is American, but the eccentricity intrinsic to their sound is undeniably English, giving the record an oddly disconcerting feel without them ever sounding like tourists. In fact, the moody "Never See London Again" makes it hard to imagine it was finished in Walthamstow. Upbeat when talking of family bereavement, ("Crooked Smile") but quietly introspective in the instrumental jam of "Ghost Cat". This is the ultimate campfire record--perhaps what Burt Bacharach might have produced if hed ridden west and drunk a quart of tequila a day with Badly Drawn Boy riding shotgun. Its imagery is vivid, its heart is heavy; this is simultaneously beautiful, maudlin and strange, but ultimately moving.--Ben Johncock