At this point West Coast country folk outfit Mapache have harnessed the right breezes and are riding high on the hammock-bound strums of their windswept tunes. Pushing the boundaries further than before, the band follows up a recent covers comp that let slip plenty of their influences with a double LP that’s full of sandy-haired riffs and sunset harmonies. With more room to stretch, the band don’t really go for a high-concept setup, instead locking in with Dan Horne once again behind the boards and bringing in pedal steel luminary ‘Farmer’ Dave Scher (Beachwood Sparks) for a few songs. The resulting record is sunburnt bliss — a collection that wanders, but never stumbles. Finch and Blasucci have found a way to bring linen-lined huarache head swim to the forefront, a shift that may have complimented their recent move from L.A. north to Ojai.
There’s no tension in the bones of Mapache, but that’s never been the game. This is sea breeze laid to tape, country calm that wafts on the air and infects the soul. While the covers comp may have gotten some of the adoration out of their systems, as is common with their albums a few covers slip in here as well. Salt-scrubbed versions of Bo Diddley’s “Diana” and Gabby Pahinui’s “Kaua‘i Beauty” lace in nicely between the duo’s own tunes, a quilt of comfort on cold nights while the waves crash outside the window. Mapache are slight outliers in the recent run of country kickup. There’s no rollick in their rucksack, just moments of relief and respite. They’re circling the edges of the cosmic crowd, but finding themselves more earnest and straightforward. Troubadors to the end, the duo bring a kind of afternoon busking sway to the studio. That rumpled charm takes them a long way, making the four side here just float by in a heat ripple haze.
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