Critic's Choice

The fall of 2004 has ushered in an embarrassment of riches for Absinthe Studios sound wizard Bob Ferbrache. After mixing Wovenhand's devotional master stroke, Consider the Birds, Big Bob further establishes Denver as ground zero for American roots music with an extraordinary self-titled effort from Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots. Co-released on Alternative Tentacles/ Smooch Records, the epic long-player takes Munly and company's folkloric, string-heavy aesthetic to new levels -- namely through the digital magic of Dolby-enhanced surround sound on a bonus DVD. With over ninety black-and-white photos, the package enhances each story-song like a slide show of crime photos. (There's also a separate, unaccompanied lyrical-recitation feature.) Chock-full of religious allegory, stolen dentures, wedding sheets and blood-spattered Bowie knives, Munly's fifth disc brims with vein-bulging intensity -- not to mention some intricate vocal harmonies: On "Cassius Castrato the She-Male of the Men's Prision," our caustic narrator's falsetto comes as a result of a self-inflicted alteration. Dark, disturbing and brilliantly rendered, this work unveils itself for public consumption on Saturday, October 23, at the Larimer Lounge. Attendance should almost be mandatory.


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