Slim Cessna’s Auto Club‘s 2008 release Cipher was one of my favorites of that year. I still don’t quite know how to describe the Denver band but words like Southern gothic, primal folk, old timey gospel, and Americana noir come to mind. The band’s twangy songs are full of the stuff of legend – brawlers and drunkards, places with strange histories and strange energies, and, of course, a dash of heartbreak and salvation.
The group’s newest release, the eight-song Buried Behind the Barn EP, doesn’t offer up new material. These tracks were all recorded in 2000 and 2001 and only saw the light of day on a very limited edition CDR in 2004. For all but the most diehard Slim Cessna fans these tracks will most likely be new fare, but can ten year old recordings entice new listeners? My guess is yes, absolutely.
The eight tracks on Buried Behind the Barn are all quite good – good enough that they could have easily made earlier appearances in their current versions. Opener “Cranston” is a fun banjo-picking romp with a dark tale of the “Cranston city sinner.” This toe tapper is a great start because it packs in all of the best things about Slim Cessna’s Auto Club into just over three minutes. In the middle of the EP is “Shady Lane”, the song that led me to this release in the first place. If you’ll excuse the cliche, this tune is the slow building barn burner of the bunch. These guys know how to tell a damn story while inducing fits and spasms. “Earthquake” is completely unlike anything else found here and is refreshing in its odd placement. This tune employs a more pop oriented approach – but no worries, it’s still weird enough to be bonafide Slim Cessna.
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is one of those groups that doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. Although Buried Behind the Barn could serve as a good introduction to the band – hopefully as a jumping off point to the members’ other work – this EP is a solid effort even as a standalone release.