The Court & Spark, with Brothers and Sisters

Thursday, July 13, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Ave. Call 713-862-2513 for more info

Because a pedal steel guitar is featured prominently in their sound, The Court & Spark often get pegged as an alt-country band, but nothing could be further from the truth. The steel guitar is just part of a multilayered sound that can include cello, hammered dulcimer, Mellotron, and the percussive slapping of typewriter keys. Progressive folk, atmospheric post-rock, or hallucinogenic slowcore all come closer to describing a style that's utterly unique and instantly identifiable. The band's arrangements always sound wide open, despite all the instruments that go dancing through the mix, while M.C. Taylor's bemused vocals perfectly complement the strange, slightly disjointed feeling of the music. The melancholy spell of "We Were All Uptown Rulers" is balanced by the pastoral "A Milk White Flag," a brief, dreamy instrumental, and the droning folk rock of "Capaldi," which brings to mind early Richard Thompson–era Fairport Convention.

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