Producers Mark Heard
and Peter Buck
. seem to be trying to get the biggest, most aggressive sound they can while using acoustic string instruments almost exclusively. The result is a terrific set of Power Folk. The Vigilantes
rip through the fast numbers with punk intensity, and perform the slower ones with an almost cinematic sweep. Singer-songwriter Bill Mallonee's
stories echo Flannery O'Connor in their colloquial evocation of empty lives and gracious redemption. His only bandmate is mandolin virtuoso Billy Holmes
, who also plays organ, piano, sitar, trumpet, bass and electric guitar. In the last years before his death Heard
had developed uncanny prowess in engineering acoustic recordings, and every note rings with shimmering definition.