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Exene Cervenka

Somewhere Gone – 2009 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Exene Cervenka

The sparse, mesmerizing Sound of Coming Down is one of many standout tracks on Exene Cervenka's first solo album in nearly 20 years. And perhaps the song title also is a good description of this low-key effort after the more frequently, well, loud work of X, Auntie Christ and the Original Sinners.

The 14 songs, which combined clock in at a little more than sitcom-length, are filled with vignette-like passages of passion, loss, regret and humor. Five songs don't even make it to the two-minute mark, but the punk rock veteran is quite capable of drawing blood quickly on songs such as Insane Thing and Fevered Paper. The violin/viola/cello playing of Amy Farris pairs perfectly with Cervenka's poetic imagery, making her recent passing at an early age all the more depressing. As a duo, Farris and Cervenka take on the traditional The Willow Tree, the only non-original, in lovely fashion. In addition to Farris, other capable supporters include Dexter Romweber and Cindy Wasserman as well as Skeletons/Morells cohorts Lou Whitney, who recorded the album at his Springfield, Mo. studio, and Joe Terry, whose piano and organ work is a true delight, especially on the jaunty Walk Me Across the Night.

Furthermore, the title track, with its great chug-a-chug shuffle, is a song just waiting to be used in right Western movie train scene. Short but fully-realized, "Somewhere Gone" is worth making noise about.