Critic's Choice

Denali

Denali -- which hits the 15th Street Tavern on Saturday, September 21, with Gogogo Airheart and Navy Girls, and joins Black Black Ocean and Façade at CU-Boulder's Club 156 on Sunday, September 22 -- specializes in atmosphere that occupies a middle ground between benign and unsettling. On this Virginia-based band's self-titled debut album, released earlier this year on the Jade Tree imprint, guitarist Cam DiNunzio, bassist Keeley Davis and drummer Jonathan Fuller provide dramatic backdrops against which singer/multi-instrumentalist Maura Davis pitches her thin but evocative voice. Because she's equally adept at purring and caterwauling, tracks like "Relief," which plays the volume-dynamics game to good effect, give off an odd, jittery vibe. Even songs as outwardly static as "Time Away" and "Prozac" maintain a palpable tension. Denali's music may sound familiar at first, but the longer it plays, the moodier and more unpredictable it becomes.

 
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