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CD Review: Andy Cook & the Wanderloons

Sing, Dionysus!

(myspace.com/andycook)

This Oberlin group grabs inspiration from the same well of 1960s hippie music mined by freak-folk faves Devendra Banhart and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. But frontman Cook's quaint harmonies and nostalgic lyrics are more Simon & Garfunkel than Bob Dylan. "Between the River and the Fire" is a jubilant rave-up espousing the virtue of free love, and "Under the White Pine"'s warbling vocals and narrative structure recall the Decemberists. The orchestral flourishes of "The Tall Tale of Mrs. Lion" suggest that the theatrical Cook wouldn't sound out of place backed by a big band. There's a decidedly retro vibe here; Cook's lyrics reflect a childlike innocence, but his exuberance packs undeniable charm. — Jeff Niesel

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