by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Mary Jane Dunphe is quickly proving to be capable of anything. That's the storyline around her latest band, The County Liners, and it makes sense. Prior to the dusty country outfit she formed together with Chris McDonnell, Dunphe was best known for the harsh punk of Vexx and the electro pop of CC Dust. There were no hints that country music might be the next step, and yet here we are, and it may just be her best project yet. The aptly titled Mary Jane Dunphe & Chris McDonnell in The County Liners presents itself like a film, one on grainy reel to reel, crackling and popping in just the right moments but remaining full of brilliant grit.
The duo's twangy debut trades off between Dunphe and McDonnell's vocals, countering each other with passioned howls and concise songwriting that never overstays its welcome. "Walkin' Out" is a prime example, a cloudy western ballad that captures McDonnell's folk inflected blues and longing, desperately attempting to hold on to a relationship already in shambles. It's a response to first single "Love Letter" from the opposite perspective, a warbling and gentle last ditch effort. That sense of desire seems to shift half-way through "Walkin' Out," as McDonnell's vocals start to slur and a moment of realization seems to wash over his turmoil as it becomes increasingly clear "time had other plans."
The County Liners' Mary Jane Dunphe & Chris McDonnell in The County Liners is out November 17th via Wharf Cat Records.