The Mining Co. – Burning Sun & The Atomic Powers Within (The Mining Co.)
Having been compared to the dense beauty of works by the likes of Mark Kozelek, Bonnie Prince Billy and Phosphorescence, anyone with even a passing interest in Americana will not want to miss out on the debut album by The Mining Co. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that the band is led by London based Michael Gallagher, a songwriter with Irish roots, and was independently produced in Spain with the legendary impresario Paco Loco. Somehow, the result is as American as Madonna eating cheeseburgers at a baseball game.
Despite the contemporaries referenced at the start of the review, ‘Country Heart‘, which begins Burning Sun & The Atomic Powers Within, comes ambling nonchalantly out of its lonesome ranch like the long lost cousin of JJ Cale‘s most celebrated work, ‘Magnolia‘. The slow pedal steel and Gallagher’s low ravished vocals are a perfect combination, and the whole thing passes in such tranquillity that even the literary children’s character Mr. Jelly would find himself able stop wobbling for a few minutes.
Some of the easy sounds demonstrated on Burning Sun… could be likened to those of Lambchop‘s Kurt Wagner, in one of his most buoyant moods, while the cool organ swirl of the ludicrously short ‘Cover Of Night‘ whispers its appreciation to Dylan‘s ‘Like A Rolling Stone‘. There’s often a fascinating juxtaposition of an idling calm with a deliberate morosity, making it hard to gauge just what kind of a mood Gallagher is actually in. Think Marty Robbins, but with his songs slowed down, stripped to their bare minimum and beatified. Think Josh T Pearson as produced by Audie Ashworth. And think The National if they chose to heartily embrace the Americana genre on their next album.
In spite of all this, you could still file The Mining Co’s debut album under “classic country” – there are shades of Johnny Cash here and there, after all, and who, if anyone, could argue that ‘Keep On Rollin‘ would fit the bouffant and beard of Kenny Rogers like a Latex balaclava?
It’s a pretty intense, eloquent record on its slower numbers, to such an extent that the blither, more flippant recordings are something of a welcome relief when they come. An admirable debut.
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