Review :: Drakkar Sauna, "drakkansasauna"

Let's be honest...

This is probably not Drakkar Sauna's breakout album. If you don't cotton to their particular brand of down-home folkish surrealism already, chances are "drakkansasauna" won't change your mind.

It's also probably not the album where they "polish" all the "rough edges." If anything, this - the Lawrence band's second album - is rougher than their debut "Rover," a lo-fi masterpiece in its own right.

All this is a GOOD THING. Studio polish and mainstream acclaim are the last thing Drakkar Sauna needs. Especially when they're writing songs like this.

The duo of cheeky troubadours have a well-earned reputation for being willfully weird, and one can be forgiven for thinking they're not taking this stuff seriously. But with the exception of a few requisite head-scratchers (nothing says "what the fuck" like throwing in a song from your last album halfway through that sounds like you sang it from the bottom of a well), "drakkansasauna" is packed with solid musicianship from top to bottom.

The dulcet harmonies of "No, It's Part Of A Song" and "The Debut of the Tambourine Shoe" come off downright heartfelt - and a little heartbreaking. And "There Is No Boon For Which We Do Not Render Service" is catchier than John Mayer on a bender.

Don't let the clanky percussion and the warbling vocals fool you - it's all part of the charm. Drakkar Sauna is one of the best things to happen to local music in Lawrence since Bob Cutler started serving hot dogs out back at the Replay.

If you live in Lawrence and give a flip about local music, you owe it to yourself to pick up this album, or at least make it to one of their 5,000 or so upcoming shows (these guys work harder than you think).

Who knows, this might be their breakout album after all.

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