The pursuit of darkness in music is fraught with ham and melodrama, but by dodging the velvet and lace, the economical songs of this Philadelphia band achieve a stark, genuine sort of macabre that’s completely free of gothic camp, irony or kitsch. Their full-length debut is a heady, often psychedelic journey that has all the humor of a midnight pagan ritual. Imagine druids making indie rock, or the Doors as Satanists, and you’ve got Coyote. Their poignant sound – foreboding guitars and pianos draped in ominous church organs – is evocative, unsettling and essential. Underneath the thickness of the mood, however, is a writhing, primordial restlessness, expressed largely by the haunting quiver of Ryan Hamilton’s incantatory voice. The funeral march of “Tea Kettle” swoons with inevitability, only occasionally broken by Hamilton’s pained, soulful wail. Outsides is a stirring album that transports, penetrates and bewitches.
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