Portland based solo artist Dakota Slim of the band Spare Spells has released his new album Cactus Crown! Not unlike his work under Spare Spells, Dakota Slim continues to create a truly unique blend of worldly, occult country goth music.
Cactus Crown opens “The Night Thief”, a unique song that takes you by surprise no matter what you’re expecting. The best way I can describe it is a creepy, worldly trip-hop song with ghostly vocals, but there’s so much more to it than that. My favorite is the wild saxophone noise reminiscent of The Birthday Party. “Wylin'” has a more obvious spaghetti western influence, dirge-y and acoustic in tone.
The album’s namesake “Cactus Crown” feels like country-tinged shoegaze/postpunk and features my favorite lyrics (“and with a sooth-said haste / With his sun bleached brain / Happily deranged / Yet perfectly sane”). “Weightless” is purely acoustic and easily the most mellow song on the album. Cactus Crown picks up the pace with “Wasted Bones” – sultry vocals over maracas, acoustic guitar, and varying synths, it feels very tribal.
My favorite song on the album is “The Tether”. Equally tribal to the previous track, there are Eastern influences thrown in and it’s extremely theatrical. Another strong track for me is “Disolva y Coagula”, which is theatrical for entirely different reasons. Surf guitar and female vocals, how can you go wrong? Cactus Crown finishes with “The Calico Ghost,” which I think provides the best sample of Dakota Slim’s music. It’s a great blend of twangy guitar, shifty tambourine, country vocals, and electronic elements.