On "Monitor Arms," Nick Loss-Eaton sings of shipbuilders swilling and spilling their beers and how a 9-volt battery is all that he needs to set off air-raid sirens "just to pass the time." It's an expertly written song soaked in stark imagery, but I can't tell if it's aided or undermined by his oddly flat voice.
Loss-Eaton has a monotone delivery that can be like listening to Steven Wright front a folk band. Maybe it's not that bad, but you get the idea. He makes Jeff Tweedy sound like an "American Idol" winner. Here's the weirdest thing: as grating as he starts off, Loss-Eaton has a way of growing on you over time.
I credit his writing. The breezy "Bywater Rag" covers late-night laundromat lights, shootin' dice and other scenes straight out of the sweltering South. "Giving Up Redheads," a country ditty that departs from the EP's otherwise dark Americana, has some laugh-out-loud lines.
The full band is tight, but Leland Sundries lives and dies with Loss-Eaton. Don't let his voice throw you off. Somehow it's a perfect fit.
Leland Sundries plays Monk's Bar Saturday, May 26.