Cuntry Covers Vol. 2 - Red
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Red vinyl Loser Edition. As it's name suggested, the intimate and sultry Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 was always going to have a follow-up. Led by the brooding vocals of Bria Salmena, Cuntry Covers Vol. 2 is every bit as potent as it's predecessor whose noir-inflected alternative country-rock stood in sharp contrast to the singer's commanding delivery as leader of post-punk revivalists FRIGS. Debuting the project in 2021, the languid, reverb-drenched Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 saw her artfully collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Duncan Hay Jennings and reimagining a carefully picked collection of Americana anthems. Vol. 2 pushes the envelope further and harder. Encompassing feverish takes on tracks by Gillian Welch, Paula Cole, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Robert Lester Folsom, Glenn Campbell - by way of Nick Cave - and the late, great Loretta Lynn, Bria's deliciously dark approach shimmers through these six startling songs. Created during a break from Salmena and Jennings' work in Orville Peck's world-conquering backing band, Vol. 2 was recorded directly after Peck's second album and Bria's US tour supporting Wolf Alice. Embracing contrast, the sunny circumstances in which Vol. 1 was made were flipped on their head. Instead of a bucolic barn in the Canadian countryside, they recorded the new tracks in chilly Toronto, huddled together in their tiny makeshift home studio, with Jennings at the controls. They enlisted the help of local Toronto musicians Lucas Savatti (FRIGS), Simone Baril (US Girls, The Highest Order, Darlene Shrugg, Partner), Andrew Manktelow, and frequent collaborator Jaime Rae McCuaig. While Vol. 1 was Bria's attempt at subverting country music's conservative roots and primarily white and heterosexual agenda, here the emphasis was on experimentation. While Vol. 2 might be less personal, it's just as idiosyncratic, with half of the reversions staying true to the originals and others taken to a different universe entirely. Building on the tried-and-true/bold-and-new duality of Cuntry Covers' first offering, Vol. 2 delivers a deeper dive into the duo's brilliant alchemy of traditional and contemporary reinterpretations. The added experimental flourishes, from dizzying electronica and pulsing bass to sax-driven soul, take Bria's new EP into previously uncharted territory, signaling a thrilling new step in Bria's adventurous evolution.