On "Everything's Fine," it's third CD, the Willard Grant Conspiracy numbers 13 members, with plenty of string instruments listed next to those names. Doubtless not everyone's on every cut, but this abundance transforms the simple, three-chord waltz of opener "Notes From the Waiting Room" into a pretty jewel that's rich but not flashy. The CD's first half feels like folk-pop done by a chamber orchestra: stately yet gentle and emotion-laden. For example, "Kite Flying" brings guitar, piano and touches of banjo and cello into its floaty sweetness, as deep-voiced main vocalist Robert Fisher sings, "Tied to a string and then/ Flown away in the wind/ In the skin, in the skin/ Where memory begins."
Midway the mood turns darker. A Nick Cave influence creeps in around the edges; the violin becomes more insistent and the piano more foreboding. "Ballad of John Parker" begins with the unsettling image, "Down the rough road where the asphalt is split/ Stumbles a man down to his wits." This impressive CD carries you along on its journey from dawn to dusk.
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