Though Darnielle doesn't muster quite the intensity of Will Oldham's curdled musings or match either the poetry of Silver Jews' Dave Berman or the musical inventiveness of Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, he's a more vivid storyteller than any of them, and more melodically inviting. Tallahassee is, of course, a musical document -- and it's in the music that Darnielle invests this moonshine-soaked marriage with a kind of grace. Some of the songs enjoy a simplicity that allows Darnielle's tenderness to shine through; others rip out self-defeating, drunken yarns with dry-eyed clarity.
Ultimately Tallahassee is so good at teasing out the mad and thrilling gorgeousness of bad love that it kind of makes you wish you were in a death-spiraling relationship of your own.
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